BETA


2016/2251(INI) Application of Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage ('ELD')

Progress: Procedure completed

RoleCommitteeRapporteurShadows
Lead JURI FERRARA Laura (icon: EFDD EFDD) COMODINI CACHIA Therese (icon: PPE PPE), GUTELAND Jytte (icon: S&D S&D), DZHAMBAZKI Angel (icon: ECR ECR), USPASKICH Viktor (icon: ALDE ALDE), HAUTALA Heidi (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE)
Committee Opinion ENVI JÁVOR Benedek (icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE) Jørn DOHRMANN (icon: ECR ECR), Mireille D'ORNANO (icon: ENF ENF), Anneli JÄÄTTEENMÄKI (icon: ALDE ALDE)
Lead committee dossier:
Legal Basis:
RoP 54

Events

2018/03/08
   EC - Commission response to text adopted in plenary
Documents
2017/10/26
   EP - Results of vote in Parliament
2017/10/26
   EP - Debate in Parliament
2017/10/26
   EP - Decision by Parliament
Details

The European Parliament adopted by 502 votes to 74, with 35 abstentions, a resolution on the application of Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage (the ‘ELD’).

While acknowledging the importance of the Commission’s studies and reports regarding the assessment of the implementation of the ELD, Members observed with concern that the findings of those reports give an alarming picture of the actual implementation of the ELD and noted that the directive has been transposed in a patchy and superficial way in many Member States.

State of play of the implementation of the ELD : several Member States failed to comply with the deadline for transposing the ELD and that only by mid-2010 had it been transposed by all 27 Member States. The transposition of the ELD into national liability systems has not resulted in a level playing field and that, as confirmed in the Commission report, it is currently totally disparate in both legal and practical terms, with great variability in the amount of cases between Member States. Seven Member States have yet to resolve a number of non-compliance issues.

Limits to the effectiveness of the ELD : according to the Parliament, the main reasons of the variable effectiveness of the ELD are as follows:

the generic nature of the ELD, which was drawn up along the lines of the framework directive model; the different interpretations and application of the ‘ significance threshold ’ for environmental damage; the fact that under the ELD, incidents are defined as ‘serious’ only if they give rise to deaths or serious injuries , with no reference to the consequences for the environment; that other activities with potential negative impacts on biodiversity and the environment, such as the pipeline transport of dangerous substances, mining, etc. are currently not covered by the requirement for strict liability; problems persist regarding the application of the directive to large-scale incidents , especially when it is not possible to identify the liable polluter and/or the polluter becomes insolvent or bankrupt. the failure to provide for the application of a standard administrative procedure for notifying competent authorities of imminent threat of, or actual, environmental damage.

Members, on the other hand, welcomed the fact that, as regards the application of the ELD in relation to protected species and natural habitats , half the Member States apply a broader scope (Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom).

Suggestions to improve harmonisation of the ELD : Parliament called for the ELD to be reviewed as soon as possible and the definition of ‘environmental damage’ laid down in the directive, specifically with regard to the criteria relating to determining adverse effects on protected species and habitats (Annex I), and to risks of water damage and land damage, to be revised with a view to keep pace with the rapid evolution of pollutants from industrial activities.

The Commission is called on to:

set out in detail the concept of ‘ significance threshold ’ and assess differentiated maximum liability thresholds for activities; provide a clear and coherent interpretation of the geographical scope of ELD ‘ favourable conservation status ’ (EU territory, national territory, natural landscape area); determine what rules are necessary to establish a clear and irrefutable distinction between those cases in which the ELD is applicable and those in which the national standard should apply, where this is more stringent; introduce mandatory financial security , e.g. a mandatory environmental liability insurance for operators; consider the possibility of establishing a European fund for the protection of the environment from damage caused by industrial activity governed by the ELD, without undermining the polluter-pays principle, for insolvency risks and only in cases where financial security markets fail; make public all cases of proven liability as well as the details of penalties imposed in order to make the true cost of environmental damage transparent to all; come forward with a proposal for environmental inspections at the European level; establish a register for operators who engage in dangerous activities and a financial monitoring scheme to ensure that operators are solvent; ensure the application of the ELD to environmental damage caused by any occupational activity and to ensure strict producer liability; establish a publicly available European database of cases of environmental damage governed by the ELD; step up its training programme for the application of the ELD in the Member States and to set up helpdesks; introduce tax relief or other favourable arrangements for companies which successfully endeavour to prevent environmental damage; assess the possibility of introducing collective redress mechanisms for breaches of the Union’s environmental law; review that directive’s scope so that it covers all applicable Union environmental legislation.

Documents
2017/10/26
   EP - End of procedure in Parliament
2017/10/11
   EP - Committee report tabled for plenary
Details

The Committee on Legal Affairs adopted an own-initiative report by Laura FERRARA (EFDD, IT) on the application of Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage (the ‘ELD’).

The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, exercising its prerogative as an associated committee in accordance with Article 54 of the Rules of Procedure, also gave its opinion on the report.

Members acknowledged the importance of the Commission’s studies and reports regarding the assessment of the implementation of the ELD and its impact on the Member States. They observed with concern that the findings of those reports give an alarming picture of the actual implementation of the ELD and noted that the directive has been transposed in a patchy and superficial way in many Member States.

State of play of the implementation of the ELD : several Member States failed to comply with the deadline for transposing the ELD and that only by mid-2010 had it been transposed by all 27 Member States. The transposition of the ELD into national liability systems has not resulted in a level playing field and that, as confirmed in the Commission report, it is currently totally disparate in both legal and practical terms , with great variability in the amount of cases between Member States. Seven Member States have yet to resolve a number of non-compliance issues.

Limits to the effectiveness of the ELD : the lack of uniformity is also due to the generic nature of the ELD, which was drawn up along the lines of the framework directive model.

The report pointed out that the different interpretations and application of the ‘significance threshold’ for environmental damage are one of the main barriers to an effective and uniform application of the ELD. Members deplored the fact that under the ELD, incidents are defined as ‘ serious’ only if they give rise to deaths or serious injuries , with no reference to the consequences for the environment. In addition, they regretted that other activities with potential negative impacts on biodiversity and the environment, such as the pipeline transport of dangerous substances, mining, etc. are currently not covered by the requirement for strict liability.

The scope of the framework of environmental liability should be broadened to include damage to the air, fauna and flora and the landscape.

The report stressed that problems persist regarding the application of the directive to large-scale incidents , especially when it is not possible to identify the liable polluter and/or the polluter becomes insolvent or bankrupt.

Members, on the other hand, welcomed the fact that, as regards the application of the ELD in relation to protected species and natural habitats , half the Member States apply a broader scope (Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom).

Suggestions to improve harmonisation of the ELD : Members called for the ELD to be reviewed as soon as possible and the definition of ‘environmental damage’ laid down in the directive, specifically with regard to the criteria relating to determining adverse effects on protected species and habitats (Annex I), and to risks of water damage and land damage, to be revised with a view to keep pace with the rapid evolution of pollutants from industrial activities.

The Commission is called on to:

set out in detail the concept of ‘significance threshold’ in order to standardise the application of the ELD, making it uniform in all Member States; provide a clear and coherent interpretation of the geographical scope of ELD ‘ favourable conservation status’ (EU territory, national territory, natural landscape area); introduce mandatory financial security , e.g. a mandatory environmental liability insurance for operators and to develop a harmonised EU methodology for calculating the maximum liability thresholds, taking account of the characteristics of each activity and its surrounding area; consider the possibility of establishing a European fund for the protection of the environment from damage caused by industrial activity governed by the ELD, without undermining the polluter-pays principle, for insolvency risks and only in cases where financial security markets fail; come forward with a proposal for environmental inspections at the European level; establish a register for operators who engage in dangerous activities and a financial monitoring scheme to ensure that operators are solvent; ensure the application of the ELD to environmental damage caused by any occupational activity and to ensure strict producer liability ; establish a publicly available European database of cases of environmental damage governed by the ELD; step up its training programme for the application of the ELD in the Member States and to set up helpdesks; assess the possibility of introducing collective redress mechanisms for breaches of the Union’s environmental law; review that directive’s scope so that it covers all applicable Union environmental legislation.

Documents
2017/10/02
   EP - Vote in committee
2017/06/26
   EP - Amendments tabled in committee
Documents
2017/06/20
   EP - Committee opinion
Documents
2017/05/08
   EP - Committee draft report
Documents
2016/10/25
   EP - JÁVOR Benedek (Verts/ALE) appointed as rapporteur in ENVI
2016/10/12
   EP - FERRARA Laura (EFDD) appointed as rapporteur in JURI
2016/10/06
   EP - Committee referral announced in Parliament
2016/10/06
   EP - Referral to associated committees announced in Parliament

Documents

Activities

Votes

A8-0297/2017 - Laura Ferrara - Vote unique 26/10/2017 12:17:11.000 #

2017/10/26 Outcome: +: 502, -: 74, 0: 35
DE IT ES FR RO HU BE SE PT AT CZ NL IE EL BG FI HR LV SI LU DK MT EE LT CY PL SK GB
Total
74
54
43
61
25
18
20
19
16
16
18
21
10
16
13
11
11
7
7
6
10
6
5
7
5
46
9
55
icon: PPE PPE
179

Finland PPE

2

Luxembourg PPE

3

Denmark PPE

For (1)

1

Lithuania PPE

1

Cyprus PPE

1
icon: S&D S&D
162

Czechia S&D

3

Netherlands S&D

3

Ireland S&D

For (1)

1

Greece S&D

2

Croatia S&D

2

Latvia S&D

1

Slovenia S&D

For (1)

1

Luxembourg S&D

For (1)

1

Denmark S&D

2

Malta S&D

3

Estonia S&D

For (1)

1

Cyprus S&D

2

Slovakia S&D

1
icon: ALDE ALDE
53

Germany ALDE

2

Romania ALDE

2

Portugal ALDE

1

Austria ALDE

For (1)

1

Ireland ALDE

For (1)

1

Croatia ALDE

2

Latvia ALDE

1

Slovenia ALDE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg ALDE

For (1)

1

Denmark ALDE

2

Estonia ALDE

3

Lithuania ALDE

1

United Kingdom ALDE

1
icon: Verts/ALE Verts/ALE
41

Italy Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Hungary Verts/ALE

2

Belgium Verts/ALE

2

Austria Verts/ALE

2

Netherlands Verts/ALE

2

Finland Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Croatia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Latvia Verts/ALE

1

Slovenia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Luxembourg Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Denmark Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Estonia Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

Lithuania Verts/ALE

For (1)

1

United Kingdom Verts/ALE

3
icon: GUE/NGL GUE/NGL
40

Italy GUE/NGL

2

Sweden GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Portugal GUE/NGL

2

Czechia GUE/NGL

2

Netherlands GUE/NGL

For (1)

Abstain (1)

2

Finland GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Denmark GUE/NGL

For (1)

1

Cyprus GUE/NGL

2
icon: NI NI
15

Germany NI

2

France NI

Abstain (1)

2

Hungary NI

2

Poland NI

2

United Kingdom NI

For (1)

Against (1)

2
icon: ENF ENF
30

Romania ENF

Abstain (1)

1

Belgium ENF

For (1)

1

Netherlands ENF

4

Poland ENF

Against (1)

1
icon: EFDD EFDD
34

Sweden EFDD

2

Czechia EFDD

Against (1)

1

Lithuania EFDD

For (1)

1

Poland EFDD

1
icon: ECR ECR
55

Italy ECR

Against (1)

1

Belgium ECR

3

Czechia ECR

2

Netherlands ECR

For (1)

1

Greece ECR

Against (1)

1

Bulgaria ECR

Against (1)

1

Finland ECR

Against (1)

2

Croatia ECR

Against (1)

1

Denmark ECR

3

Lithuania ECR

Against (1)

1

Slovakia ECR

Abstain (1)

3
AmendmentsDossier
131 2016/2251(INI)
2017/04/26 ENVI 58 amendments...
source: 604.509
2017/06/23 JURI 73 amendments...
source: 606.200

History

(these mark the time of scraping, not the official date of the change)

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rapporteur
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commission
  • body: EC dg: Environment commissioner: VELLA Karmenu
committees
  • type: Responsible Committee body: EP associated: True committee_full: Legal Affairs committee: JURI date: 2016-10-12T00:00:00 rapporteur: name: FERRARA Laura group: Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy abbr: EFDD shadows: name: COMODINI CACHIA Therese group: European People's Party (Christian Democrats) abbr: PPE name: GUTELAND Jytte group: Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats abbr: S&D name: DZHAMBAZKI Angel group: European Conservatives and Reformists abbr: ECR name: USPASKICH Viktor group: Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe abbr: ALDE name: CHRYSOGONOS Kostas group: European United Left - Nordic Green Left abbr: GUE/NGL name: HAUTALA Heidi group: Greens/European Free Alliance abbr: Verts/ALE
  • type: Committee Opinion body: EP associated: True committee_full: Environment, Public Health and Food Safety committee: ENVI date: 2016-10-25T00:00:00 rapporteur: name: JÁVOR Benedek group: Greens/European Free Alliance abbr: Verts/ALE
docs
  • date: 2017-05-08T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE599.856 title: PE599.856 type: Committee draft report body: EP
  • date: 2017-06-20T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE599.800&secondRef=02 title: PE599.800 committee: ENVI type: Committee opinion body: EP
  • date: 2017-06-26T00:00:00 docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&mode=XML&language=EN&reference=PE606.200 title: PE606.200 type: Amendments tabled in committee body: EP
  • date: 2018-03-08T00:00:00 docs: url: /oeil/spdoc.do?i=30290&j=0&l=en title: SP(2018)7 type: Commission response to text adopted in plenary
events
  • date: 2016-10-06T00:00:00 type: Committee referral announced in Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2016-10-06T00:00:00 type: Referral to associated committees announced in Parliament body: EP
  • date: 2017-10-02T00:00:00 type: Vote in committee, 1st reading/single reading body: EP
  • date: 2017-10-11T00:00:00 type: Committee report tabled for plenary, single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=REPORT&mode=XML&reference=A8-2017-0297&language=EN title: A8-0297/2017 summary: The Committee on Legal Affairs adopted an own-initiative report by Laura FERRARA (EFDD, IT) on the application of Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage (the ‘ELD’). The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, exercising its prerogative as an associated committee in accordance with Article 54 of the Rules of Procedure, also gave its opinion on the report. Members acknowledged the importance of the Commission’s studies and reports regarding the assessment of the implementation of the ELD and its impact on the Member States. They observed with concern that the findings of those reports give an alarming picture of the actual implementation of the ELD and noted that the directive has been transposed in a patchy and superficial way in many Member States. State of play of the implementation of the ELD : several Member States failed to comply with the deadline for transposing the ELD and that only by mid-2010 had it been transposed by all 27 Member States. The transposition of the ELD into national liability systems has not resulted in a level playing field and that, as confirmed in the Commission report, it is currently totally disparate in both legal and practical terms , with great variability in the amount of cases between Member States. Seven Member States have yet to resolve a number of non-compliance issues. Limits to the effectiveness of the ELD : the lack of uniformity is also due to the generic nature of the ELD, which was drawn up along the lines of the framework directive model. The report pointed out that the different interpretations and application of the ‘significance threshold’ for environmental damage are one of the main barriers to an effective and uniform application of the ELD. Members deplored the fact that under the ELD, incidents are defined as ‘ serious’ only if they give rise to deaths or serious injuries , with no reference to the consequences for the environment. In addition, they regretted that other activities with potential negative impacts on biodiversity and the environment, such as the pipeline transport of dangerous substances, mining, etc. are currently not covered by the requirement for strict liability. The scope of the framework of environmental liability should be broadened to include damage to the air, fauna and flora and the landscape. The report stressed that problems persist regarding the application of the directive to large-scale incidents , especially when it is not possible to identify the liable polluter and/or the polluter becomes insolvent or bankrupt. Members, on the other hand, welcomed the fact that, as regards the application of the ELD in relation to protected species and natural habitats , half the Member States apply a broader scope (Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Suggestions to improve harmonisation of the ELD : Members called for the ELD to be reviewed as soon as possible and the definition of ‘environmental damage’ laid down in the directive, specifically with regard to the criteria relating to determining adverse effects on protected species and habitats (Annex I), and to risks of water damage and land damage, to be revised with a view to keep pace with the rapid evolution of pollutants from industrial activities. The Commission is called on to: set out in detail the concept of ‘significance threshold’ in order to standardise the application of the ELD, making it uniform in all Member States; provide a clear and coherent interpretation of the geographical scope of ELD ‘ favourable conservation status’ (EU territory, national territory, natural landscape area); introduce mandatory financial security , e.g. a mandatory environmental liability insurance for operators and to develop a harmonised EU methodology for calculating the maximum liability thresholds, taking account of the characteristics of each activity and its surrounding area; consider the possibility of establishing a European fund for the protection of the environment from damage caused by industrial activity governed by the ELD, without undermining the polluter-pays principle, for insolvency risks and only in cases where financial security markets fail; come forward with a proposal for environmental inspections at the European level; establish a register for operators who engage in dangerous activities and a financial monitoring scheme to ensure that operators are solvent; ensure the application of the ELD to environmental damage caused by any occupational activity and to ensure strict producer liability ; establish a publicly available European database of cases of environmental damage governed by the ELD; step up its training programme for the application of the ELD in the Member States and to set up helpdesks; assess the possibility of introducing collective redress mechanisms for breaches of the Union’s environmental law; review that directive’s scope so that it covers all applicable Union environmental legislation.
  • date: 2017-10-26T00:00:00 type: Results of vote in Parliament body: EP docs: url: https://oeil.secure.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/sda.do?id=30290&l=en title: Results of vote in Parliament
  • date: 2017-10-26T00:00:00 type: Debate in Parliament body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?secondRef=TOC&language=EN&reference=20171026&type=CRE title: Debate in Parliament
  • date: 2017-10-26T00:00:00 type: Decision by Parliament, 1st reading/single reading body: EP docs: url: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&language=EN&reference=P8-TA-2017-0414 title: T8-0414/2017 summary: The European Parliament adopted by 502 votes to 74, with 35 abstentions, a resolution on the application of Directive 2004/35/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage (the ‘ELD’). While acknowledging the importance of the Commission’s studies and reports regarding the assessment of the implementation of the ELD, Members observed with concern that the findings of those reports give an alarming picture of the actual implementation of the ELD and noted that the directive has been transposed in a patchy and superficial way in many Member States. State of play of the implementation of the ELD : several Member States failed to comply with the deadline for transposing the ELD and that only by mid-2010 had it been transposed by all 27 Member States. The transposition of the ELD into national liability systems has not resulted in a level playing field and that, as confirmed in the Commission report, it is currently totally disparate in both legal and practical terms, with great variability in the amount of cases between Member States. Seven Member States have yet to resolve a number of non-compliance issues. Limits to the effectiveness of the ELD : according to the Parliament, the main reasons of the variable effectiveness of the ELD are as follows: the generic nature of the ELD, which was drawn up along the lines of the framework directive model; the different interpretations and application of the ‘ significance threshold ’ for environmental damage; the fact that under the ELD, incidents are defined as ‘serious’ only if they give rise to deaths or serious injuries , with no reference to the consequences for the environment; that other activities with potential negative impacts on biodiversity and the environment, such as the pipeline transport of dangerous substances, mining, etc. are currently not covered by the requirement for strict liability; problems persist regarding the application of the directive to large-scale incidents , especially when it is not possible to identify the liable polluter and/or the polluter becomes insolvent or bankrupt. the failure to provide for the application of a standard administrative procedure for notifying competent authorities of imminent threat of, or actual, environmental damage. Members, on the other hand, welcomed the fact that, as regards the application of the ELD in relation to protected species and natural habitats , half the Member States apply a broader scope (Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). Suggestions to improve harmonisation of the ELD : Parliament called for the ELD to be reviewed as soon as possible and the definition of ‘environmental damage’ laid down in the directive, specifically with regard to the criteria relating to determining adverse effects on protected species and habitats (Annex I), and to risks of water damage and land damage, to be revised with a view to keep pace with the rapid evolution of pollutants from industrial activities. The Commission is called on to: set out in detail the concept of ‘ significance threshold ’ and assess differentiated maximum liability thresholds for activities; provide a clear and coherent interpretation of the geographical scope of ELD ‘ favourable conservation status ’ (EU territory, national territory, natural landscape area); determine what rules are necessary to establish a clear and irrefutable distinction between those cases in which the ELD is applicable and those in which the national standard should apply, where this is more stringent; introduce mandatory financial security , e.g. a mandatory environmental liability insurance for operators; consider the possibility of establishing a European fund for the protection of the environment from damage caused by industrial activity governed by the ELD, without undermining the polluter-pays principle, for insolvency risks and only in cases where financial security markets fail; make public all cases of proven liability as well as the details of penalties imposed in order to make the true cost of environmental damage transparent to all; come forward with a proposal for environmental inspections at the European level; establish a register for operators who engage in dangerous activities and a financial monitoring scheme to ensure that operators are solvent; ensure the application of the ELD to environmental damage caused by any occupational activity and to ensure strict producer liability; establish a publicly available European database of cases of environmental damage governed by the ELD; step up its training programme for the application of the ELD in the Member States and to set up helpdesks; introduce tax relief or other favourable arrangements for companies which successfully endeavour to prevent environmental damage; assess the possibility of introducing collective redress mechanisms for breaches of the Union’s environmental law; review that directive’s scope so that it covers all applicable Union environmental legislation.
  • date: 2017-10-26T00:00:00 type: End of procedure in Parliament body: EP
procedure
reference
2016/2251(INI)
title
Application of Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage ('ELD')
subject
type
INI - Own-initiative procedure
subtype
legal_basis
Rules of Procedure EP 54
Modified legal basis
Rules of Procedure EP 159
stage_reached
Procedure completed
dossier_of_the_committee
JURI/8/08013