EU Environmental Crime Directive—snapshot
EU Environmental Crime Directive—snapshot

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

  • EU Environmental Crime Directive—snapshot
  • Entry into force
  • Aims and objectives
  • Implementation in England and Wales
  • What constitutes an offence?
  • Penalties and liabilities

EU Environmental Crime Directive—snapshot

Entry into force

TitleDirective 2008/99/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on the protection of the environment through criminal law (the Environmental Crime Directive)
Entry into force19 November 2008
Deadline for transposition26 December 2010
SubjectEnvironmental crime

Aims and objectives

The Environmental Crime Directive (Directive 2008/99/EC) obliges Member States (MS) to impose criminal penalties for certain behaviour that is seriously detrimental to the environment. It reflects concerns regarding the rise in environmental offences and their effects, which are increasingly extending beyond the borders of the MS in which the offences are committed.

The Environmental Crime Directive provides minimum rules, and therefore MS are free to adopt or maintain more stringent measures. It is without prejudice to other systems of liability for environmental damage under EU or national law.

The Environmental Crime Directive recognises that existing systems of penalties have not been sufficient to achieve complete compliance with the laws for the protection of the environment. Criminal penalties will arguably strengthen compliance by demonstrating a social disapproval of a qualitatively different nature compared to administrative penalties or a compensation mechanism under civil law.

Failure to comply with a legal duty to act can have the same damaging effects as active behaviour and should therefore also be considered a criminal offence throughout the EU when committed intentionally or with serious

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