Environmental damage—when does the environmental damage regime apply?
Produced in partnership with Begonia Filgueira FIEMA of Acuity Law

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Begonia Filgueira FIEMA of Acuity Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental damage—when does the environmental damage regime apply?
  • Brexit
  • EU Exit Regulations
  • Time of the damage
  • Scope of the damage
  • Location of the damage
  • Species and habitats damage
  • SSSI damage
  • Land damage
  • Water damage
  • More...

Environmental damage—when does the environmental damage regime apply?

The environmental damage regime (EDR) applies to environmental damage in England and Wales. It requires operators of activities responsible for serious environmental incidents to prevent and remedy the damage. Liability is based on the polluter-pays principle.

See Practice Notes: Environmental damage—potential liabilities and Environmental damage regulations—overview.

Environmental damage is damage to:

  1. a protected species or natural habitat that has a significant adverse effect on reaching or maintaining the favourable conservation status of the species or habitat

  2. a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) that has an adverse effect on the integrity of the site

  3. surface water or groundwater that triggers a drop in the status of the water body

  4. land that results in a significant risk of adverse effects on human health

  5. marine waters

Defra has produced a decision tree for determining whether or not EDR applies.

See Practice Note: Environmental damage—what does it cover?

Brexit

11 pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marked the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements came to an end and significant changes began to take effect across the UK’s legal regime.

EU Exit Regulations

The Environment (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/458 make amendments to ensure the continued functioning of the

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