Environment-related issues

Environmental Liability Directive (ELD)

The Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) was adopted in 2004 and last amended in 2013. It is the first European legislative instrument built on the "polluter pays" principle. The ELD establishes a common framework for liability, holding operators whose activities have caused environmental damage financially liable for its remediation and those whose activities cause an imminent threat of environmental damage liable to take preventive actions. In the run-up to the adoption of the Directive in 2004, BIPAR's lobbying efforts in coordination with other interested federations, resulted in the final version of the ELD, although not perfect, was acceptable both for the intermediaries’ clients and from a technical insurance point of view. A gradual approach was adopted towards mandatory financial security. As requested by BIPAR, the Directive did not oblige operators to ensure coverage of their potential liabilities by appropriate financial security products such as insurance.

In February 2017, the European Commission published its Multi-Annual ELD Work Programme "Making the ELD more fit for purpose" for 2017-2020. It invites Member States to take initiatives such as the development of guidance documents, training, electronic tools for risk analysis, baseline setting, and financial security models. They are also encouraged to exchange administrative experiences and best practices. The implementation checks of the Directive found that lack of data on ELD cases and on comparable incidents/accidents treated under national legislation, were the cause of the Directive’s limited effect in preventing and remedying environmental damage.

The Commission’s Multi-Annual ELD Work Programme 2017-2020, aiming to improve the awareness of the tools, therefore, consists of the following main pillars:

  • Improving the evidence base for evaluation and decision-making for the Commission, Member States, stakeholders and practitioners (assessment framework and ELD registry),
  • Supporting the implementation through tools and measures for more even implementation (common understanding of terms and concepts, capacity building and training),
  • Ensuring sufficient availability of financial security, in particular, for large losses or in case of insolvency (secure, sufficient and available instruments to cover ELD liabilities).

In the framework of the Multi-Annual ELD Work Programme, BIPAR attended a workshop organised by the Commission in February 2018 where participants looked at national data gathering related to environmental incidents and liability. Another workshop is expected to take place in the course of 2018.

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