Environmental Liability: no revised proposal by the EU expected in 2017

There is unlikely to be a revised proposal for the EU Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) in 2017, according to the European Commission document the REFIT Scoreboard 2016.

The REFIT Scoreboard notes that the Commission evaluation published in April 2016 (see Newsletter 71 – May 2016) confirmed the principle that precaution and prevention help to avoid remediation costs, which is in line with FERMA’s consistent views on this subject.

The Commission is now looking for an alignment of national solutions and practices within the framework of the current ELD. In February 2017, it will propose a multi-annual rolling work programme (MAWP) to Member States’ experts and stakeholders in order to improve the interpretation of key concepts and definitions of the Directive.

The MAWP is likely to focus on three areas: improving the evidence base for the evaluation of the ELD, supporting tools and measures for a more even and increasing implementation of the ELD and finally ensuring sufficient availability and demand for financial security to cover environmental liabilities.

About the last point, it is also interesting to note that through the IMPEL network, an association of environmental authorities in Europe, the Commission is still doing some work on the issue. An abstract for a funded project called “Financial Provision – Protecting the Environment and the Public Purse” was published on 19 October 2016.

The abstract contains a description of a two-year project aimed at producing guidelines on the principles of recommended financial provisions. It will include a workshop with regulators from across Europe to share experience, and the development of a practical guide in support of good regulatory process and decision-making in the field of financial provision.

FERMA will monitor the progress of this project and ensure that the conclusions and recommendations are in line with business practices.

FERMA will also provide opinion and advice to the Commission on the proposal to develop an ELD register to collect data on environmental incidents, whether it is established EU-wide or by each national authority.

Last but not least, the European Parliament, throught the Legal Affairs committee will propose an own-initiative report, with only a consultative value but a certain impact over future initiatives from the Commission. First discussions were held at the end of November. The report is likely to be adopted by next September.