Contaminated land—attributing liability between groups
Contaminated land—attributing liability between groups

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Contaminated land—attributing liability between groups
  • Determining liability
  • Common actions
  • Collective actions
  • Disproportionate attribution of responsibility

Determining liability

Enforcing authorities should follow the five step procedure set out in the statutory guidance for determining liability under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, s 78F (EPA 1990). Not all stages of the procedure will be relevant in all cases. See Practice Note: Contaminated land—process for determining liability.

Step three in the procedure requires the enforcing authority to attribute responsibility for shared actions between liability groups. It does not apply where there is:

  1. only one significant contaminant linkage (SCL), since that liability group bears the full cost of carrying out any remediation action

  2. an orphan linkage, since the enforcing authority has the power to carry out the remediation action itself at its own cost

  3. a single-linkage action, since that liability group bears the full cost of carrying out any remediation action

'Attribution' applies where one remediation action is a 'shared action', referable to two or more SCL