- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 18 Nov 2016
Environmental liability directive
The Environmental Liability Directive is intended to protect the environment (water, land and nature) by holding those that cause damage to the environment liable both legally and financially. The Directive came into force in April 2004 but only concerns damage that occurred after the deadline for Member States to transpose the Directive in April 2007.
The Directive covers damage to:
- Species and natural habitats that are protected by the 1992 Habitats Directive and the 1979 Birds Directive.
- Waters that are included in the 2000 Water Framework Directive.
- Contamination of land that could result in a significant risk of damage to human health.
Annex III of the Directive lists certain high-risk activities to which strict liability applies. This means that operators will be held liable for damage, even if they are not at fault, although this strict liability is subject to the ‘mitigating considerations’ in Article 8(4).
For activities not listed in Annex III, operators can also be held liable for damage to protected species and natural habitats (but not land and water), if they are found to be at fault or have been negligent. Therefore, if an operator damages biodiversity through undertaking an un-listed activity, but is not at fault or the damage is to soil or water, the operator will not be liable under the Directive.
An operator is considered to be any person who operates or controls an operational activity.
- England: Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009.
- Wales: Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations 2009.
- Scotland: Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009.
- Northern Ireland: Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Contaminated land.
- Designated areas.
- Environmental Impairment Liability (EIL).
- Habitats regulations assessment.
- Natura 2000 network.
- Special areas of conservation.
- Special protection areas.
- Water framework directive.
 External references
Featured articles and news
The London Build Expo is hosting a Diversity in Construction panel and networking session on October 24.
Analysis can help develop a specification, but must not lead to inappropriate specifications being accepted.
Dos and don'ts for creating a smart home.
New ICE publication recommends pay-as-you-go tax to fund roads and other financing options.
BSRIA launches a White Paper on wearable technology and wellbeing in buildings.
Have the pressures of the market shredded the core values of professionalism?
Lead times are a measure of the amount of time that elapses between initiating and completing a construction process.
Government releases first tranche of funding for removal of unsafe high-rise cladding.
How to ensure UK transport infrastructure copes with severe winter weather.