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The European Commission report on the application of the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD), which will cover also a review (evaluation) of the legislation, was postponed from the end of April and will now be completed later this year. There was some delay with the member state reports on the national application of the ELD and evaluation studies carried out for the Commission. Further, there is the matter of the European elections and appointment of new commissioners in the next few weeks and months. Adoption by the new Commission College is not envisaged before the beginning of 2015, according to a Commission official.

The ELD entered into force on 30 April 2004. Its transposition into national law was completed by July 2010. The Commission report is to evaluate the experience from member states in applying the directive by taking also account of comments from experts and stakeholders on strengths and weaknesses of the ELD and possible areas for improvement. This could ultimately lead to a revision of the points addressed in the
report, including questions regarding insurance and other types of financial security. The processes required to amend
the legislation and transpose such adaption into national law are such that change is unlikely before 2020.

For members of FERMA, this timescale is likely to be welcome because it allows the insurance market to continue developing. The extensive expert report ELD Effectiveness, Scope and Exceptions, published in February 2014, argued that a considerable expansion of strict liability to additional activities and types of pollution could make the ELD more effective and reinforce the polluter pays principle of the directive. Although the insurance market has responded to exposures under the existing Directive, FERMA expressed concern how an extension to liability or amendment to the ELD would affect availability of cover.

The Commission official indicated that transposition and implementation of the ELD are still somewhat fragmented
across the EU. More than one-third of member states have not prosecuted a case under the directive, most likely
Delay of ELD report pursuing polluters under their national legislation instead.

It does not appear that there is consistent pressure on national authorities from environmental NGOs over the ELD. It may be that they find the relationship between pollution and the ELD too technical, although where they are active, there are likely to be more prosecutions. Given that Commission believes the potential for better implementation of the existing ELD remains high, it continues to emphasise raising awareness and increasing knowledge of the Directive by information and training for operators, competent authorities and other stakeholders. The official extended an offer to FERMA members to approach the Commission if they would like to benefit from the training programmes.