Environmental Liability Legislation

EC Directive 2013/30/EC on safety of offshore oil and gas operations The 2013 Directive came into force on 12 June 2013, amending Directive 2004/35/EC (on environmental liability with regards to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage). The 2013 Directive was introduced by the EU to put in place a set of rules to help prevent accidents, as well as respond promptly and effectively should they occur.
EC Directive 2004/35 on Environmental Liability with Regard to the Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage The Environmental Liability Directive was adopted in 2004 and was required to be implemented by 30 April 2007. The Directive enforces strict liability for prevention and remediation of environmental damage to ‘biodiversity’, water and land from specified activities and remediation of environmental damage for all other activities through fault or negligence.

Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (England) Regulations 2015

The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations 2009

The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2015

The Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

The Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009

The Environmental Liability (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015

The English Regulations came into force on 19 July 2015 and apply to England only. They impose obligations on operators certain activities requiring them to prevent or remediate environmental damage. They apply to damage to protected species, natural habitats, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), water and land and implement:

  • Directive 2004/35/EC, on environmental liability; and
  • Directive 2013/30/EU, on the safety of offshore oil and gas operations.

The 2015 Amendment Regulations extend categories of environmental damage to include damage to marine waters beyond 12 nautical miles from the baselines in Northern Ireland and correct errors in the Regulations. These Regulations also provide that in Scottish waters the Scottish Ministers are the enforcing authority except where otherwise specified. In particular the Secretary of State will continue to be the enforcing authority with respect to preventing and remedying damage caused by oil, gas and carbon dioxide storage activities, and with respect to the prevention of damage from marine transport activities. These regulations were most recently updated by The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (England) Regulations 2019/1285 which places a responsibility on enforcing authorities to report instances of environmental damage to the Secretary of State. A similar amendment was made by The Rural Affairs and Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2019 which applies in Wales.
The Scottish 2009 Regulations have been amended by the Environmental Liability (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2015 which came into force on the 19 July 2015. The Northern Ireland Amendment came into force on 14 December 2009, amending The Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009

The Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 These regulations, which came into force on 15 July 2010, transpose the requirements of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC1 into UK law. It establishes a high-level framework which requires Member States to put in place measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in their marine waters by 2020.