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UKELA Responds to EFRA on the Environmental Liability Directive

Apr 18, 2007

Further information

The UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) has told the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that the consultation on the Environmental Liability Directive, which aims to prevent and remedy environmental damage, failed to ask questions about access to environmental justice.

The Government has failed to consult on crucial aspects of a new law based on the “polluter pays” principle.

The UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) has told the House of Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee that the consultation on the Environmental Liability Directive, which aims to prevent and remedy environmental damage, failed to ask questions about access to environmental justice.

UKELA says the Government has failed to consult on its proposals for implementing the provisions for access to a court/tribunal for those dissatisfied with the response to a complaint about environmental damage. If it does not show how it intends to address these issues through the consultation process, it will be acting unlawfully.

This follows the Greenpeace case in relation to the government’s consultation on new nuclear build which was ruled unlawful earlier this year.

The main concern is that individuals or organisations will be barred from taking action under the Directive because of the prohibitive costs of bringing an environmental action before the Courts. It is unclear what is being proposed to address this problem. This barrier to justice means the aim of the Directive cannot be delivered.

It is now inevitable that the Environmental Liability Directive, which is due to come into force in the UK at the end of April,will be implemented late in the UK. When European legislation is not implemented on time, the UK government could face fines and businesses are left without clear guidance.

UKELA is asking DEFRA, the Department responsible for implementing the Directive, to consult on these crucial issues before finalising the legislation

Notes to the editors:

1. UKELA is the UK charity which aims to make the law work for a better environment and to improve understanding and awareness of environmental law. UKELA’s members are involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law in the UK and the European Union.

2. The House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is carrying out an inquiry into the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' consultation on the Environmental Liability Directive. UKELA has submitted its views to the inquiry.

UK Environmental Law Association - Better law for the environment
Registered charity 299498; company registered in England number 2133283
Registered office: One Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX


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