Liability for harm to the environment

Responsibility for environmental damage encompasses many elements, including liability for remediation (clean-up or restoration), compensation, and criminal damages. These responsibilities are specified by environmental and criminal law. In general, the party responsible for causing the damage is liable for both remediation and compensation.

The aim with remediation is to restore the environment to a state as close as possible to that preceding the incident in question. Liability for damages exists even if the party responsible has observed the required principles of caution and care. Liability for compensation is supplemented by statutory environmental liability insurance, which ensures the payment of compensation even in situations wherein the parties responsible for damages cannot be compelled to fulfil their obligations.

Environmental damage

Environmental damage is usually defined as damage caused by a sudden event as a consequence of which harmful substances or energy leaks or is in danger of leaking into the environment. Environmental damage may arise quickly (on account of, for instance, an accident or negligence) or more slowly (through gradual emissions over a longer period). Environmental damage may affect the soil, the air, nature, waterways, or groundwater.

The party causing the damage is responsible for the damage caused and criminally liable for breaking laws or regulations intended to protect the environment. Companies and other organisations have a specific obligation to be aware of the environmental impact of their operations.

Notifications of environmental damage

Notifications of environmental crimes, accidents, or damage must be submitted to the Emergency Response Centre by dialling 112. The centre will contact the necessary emergency rescue or response authorities.

Published 2013-11-27 at 15:48, updated 2014-11-06 at 17:02