Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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Climate and energy transition

Environment - 17.12.2003

Environmental liability : European Parliament embraces CEMR's views
The European Parliament vote on the Environmental liability directive has given municipalities and regions of Europe a massive boost.
The Council of European Municipalities and Regions had called on MEPs to reject as a priority nine amendments (list below). All were defeated in today's vote at the Parliament.
CEMR's environment spokesperson, Lucy Swan, says : ' We have been successful in putting pressure on the EP to ensure a clear and effective liability regime. The Parliament's vote means that the polluter-pays principle will be at the heart of the liability regime. The plenary did not endorse a series of amendments proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee that would have considerably undermined this principle. Also, the Parliament has paved the way for a mandatory financial security regime to be set up within five years.
This will be a fundamental aspect of the regime: operators need to use proper insurance to ensure that they can cover the clean-up costs if they cause environmental damage".
CEMR is pleased that the EP has followed the Council in ensuring that the focus of the directive must be to ensure that polluters are held liable for the damage that they cause, and that this liability does not ultimately fall on local authorities and thus the taxpayer
List of the principle amendments CEMR was against and that were rejected :
Am 9, 16, 61, which would allow broad exemptions from liability
Am 14, which would require local authorities to prove that the operator is indeed at fault to be able to recover costs
Am 18, which limits the possibilities for authorities to recover costs
Am 11, 59, 13, 60, which makes authorities ultimately liable if for some reason operators don't remedy damage
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