Environmental insurance—landfills
Produced in partnership with EDIA Environmental Insurance
Environmental insurance—landfills

The following Environment guidance note Produced in partnership with EDIA Environmental Insurance provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Environmental insurance—landfills
  • Brexit impact
  • Landfills in the UK
  • Potential environmental liabilities associated with landfills
  • Legislation that applies to environmental damage caused by landfills
  • Insurance for environmental damage caused by landfills
  • Coverage for pollution
  • Insurance and the licensing authority
  • Considerations for the purchase and sale of licensed landfill sites
  • Considerations for closed landfill sites
  • more

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020) the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Landfills in the UK

Historically, landfills in the UK were operated under a dilute and disperse approach, where contamination from them was permitted to discharge slowly to the environment.

The adoption of the Waste Framework Directive, Directive 2008/98/EC and the Landfill Directive, Directive 1999/31/EC, among other statutory controls, resulted in fundamental changes:

  1. the requirement for landfill has reduced with the landfill tax, diversion targets and recycling targets

  2. design, construction and containment management has improved

  3. there are stricter controls on operational sites, such as pre-treatment of waste and a ban on liquid waste

  4. environmental permits can only be surrendered when a landfill no longer poses risks to the environment or human health, and

  5. financial bonds are required by the operator to pay for aftercare obligations

Consequently, the number of operational contained landfills is in decline, while there remains a significant number (many thousands) of historical dilute and disperse landfills across the country.

Dilute and