Brussels to launch debate on integrated environmental liability

The financial burden of cleaning up soil and groundwater pollution caused by past industrial activity, as well as the need to ensure restoration and compensation in cases of new environmental damage, are major issues in many European countries. The debate will soon take on a wider dimension with the publication of a European Commission discussion paper on environmental liability. The key proposal in a draft of the paper is an integrated scheme combining strict civil liability for damage caused by hazardous activities with joint compensation funds to pay for restoration where damage cannot be attributed to specific polluters.

1992 is certain to see important developments at European level on liability for environmental damage. Liability initiatives are advancing on three distinct fronts.

The Council of Europe is preparing a draft Convention on civil liability for environmental damage caused by certain dangerous activities. This is expected to apply strict liability to cases where damage arises from the production, handling or storage of dangerous substances, d

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