The Environmental Damage Regulations 2015 (EDRs) are wide-ranging government regulations that apply to many businesses.
The Environmental Damage Regulations
The regulations are the UK government’s implementation of the EU Environmental Liability Directive 2004/35/EC. The regulations were formally designated as ‘The Environmental Damage (Protection and Remediation) Regulations 2009’, but have recently being re-issued for England, with very minor modifications, as The Environmental Damage (Protections and Remediation) Regulations 2015. Similar regulations apply to Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
The regulations oblige those who create environmental damage, whether by water pollution, adversely affecting protected species or sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), or by land pollution that causes risks to human health, to not only cease the damage, but also to implement a wide variety of remedial measures to restore affected areas.
The regulations cover all those businesses with a licence to discharge to waterways, landfill operators, those dealing with hazardous waste, those using or transporting dangerous substances or agrochemicals, etc. In these cases negligence does not need to be proved for the regulations to take effect. Not every case of pollution will be considered serious enough to be covered by the regulations.
Also a business or individual can be affected by the regulations if their actions significantly adversely affect a protected species or a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), and are deemed to be ‘negligent’.
The relevant agency has the power to order remedial action, by serving a remedial notice.
Restoration may also involve complementary or compensatory remediation. Complementary remediation involves restoring habitat nearby.
Compensatory remediation involves providing alternative facilities to those people affected by the damage.
All the relevant government authorities are able to recover their enforcement costs in full from the business involved.
Here at Olliers Solicitors we bring experience and understanding in giving advice on how best to handle being prosecuted under this legislation. We will be able to minimise the impact on yourself and your business in a cost effective way.
Recent environmental cases
- • R v J – Represented a company director who was prosecuted for unauthorised treatment of waste at his waste management plant.
- R v A – Environment Agency prosecution where the client was engaged as a director in an illegal and unregulated operation in handling/transportation of waste which was exceedingly hazardous.