Environmental liability debate advances in Europe

The European debate about environmental liability will quicken over the next few months following the publication of a long-awaited European Commission Green Paper on remedying environmental damage on 17 March. The document favours the establishment of a strict liability regime coupled to compensation funds to pay for clean-up where a liable party cannot be found or is unable to pay. The EC will now have to decide how far to establish its own rules or whether to accede to a new Council of Europe treaty on civil liability for environmental damage caused by dangerous activities.

The Green Paper has been in the pipeline for well over a year. What appeared to a near-final draft leaked out from Brussels early in 1992 (ENDS Report 204, pp 14-17 ), and although the version published in March has been substantially rewritten, the thrust of the document is largely unchanged.

The Commission

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