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European Commission dissatisfied with Dutch Environmental Liability Act

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The European Commission is threatening the Netherlands with going to the European Court of Justice. According to the Commission, it is not sufficiently clear in the Environmental Liability Act that citizens have the right to place the bill for environmental damage and restoration where it should lie: with the polluter.

Under the Directive, companies have a responsibility to prevent environmental damage and to repair any damage they cause. Think of the production of waste water or the extraction of soil and surface water, but also accidents, incidents or inadequate measures and management or damage due to illegal activities such as landfill, illegal logging or illegal extraction of soil materials.

This right to redress is included in the European Environmental Liability Directive , which has been transposed into national law. As early as July 2020, the EU Executive Board sent a reminder to The Hague to ensure that it is very clear that anyone (natural and legal persons) can submit a request to a competent authority, such as a responsible ministry, to demand preventive or remedial measures from the person causing the environmental damage. And that the causer pays for the remedial measures. The Hague has responded to the letter of formal notice, but the Commission is not satisfied with that. The Commission gives the Netherlands two months to adapt the legislation.

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