Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive




Report published

The Committee published ' Implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive ', its Sixth Report 2006-07 (HC 694), on 12 July 2007.

The Government Response (HC 1058 06-07) was published on Wednesday 17 October 2007.




The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee will undertake a new style of inquiry into Defra's implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD). The written evidence received by the Committee will be the basis for a single evidence session with ministers. This form of inquiry is designed to allow the Committee to examine additional areas of Defra activity when time does not permit a number of evidence sessions.




Terms of Reference

The Committee will consider in particular:

  • What consultations Defra has had on the Directive since it was adopted in 2004 and with whom, and whether Defra has listened to consultees' views. Why Defra has taken so long to consult formally on the ELD. Whether any important questions were omitted from the formal consultation.

  • What discretion Member States have in the implementation of the ELD, and the reasons for Defra seeking to apply the 'permit' and 'state of knowledge' defences under Article 8 (4). Which other Member States will be imposing strict liability to a wider range of activities than is Defra, and which are applying a more sensitive test of damage.

  • Why the Government is proposing to limit the scope of the ELD to EU-protected biodiversity, and which SSSIs would be affected.

  • What effect implementing the ELD in the manner proposed by the Government is likely to have on its meeting the 2010 targets under the Biodiversity Action Plan and its PSA target to bring 95% of nationally important wildlife sites into favourable condition; and whether the ELD may take resources away from achieving these targets.

  • The timescale for implementation of the Directive.

  • The capacity of organisations such as the Environment Agency, Natural England and NGOs to take action under the Directive.

The deadline for submissions was Tuesday 17 April 2007.




Oral evidence session

Wednesday 13 June 2007
Ian Pearson MP, Minister of State (Climate Change and Environment), Defra




Press notices

11/10/07 Government responses to be published
12/07/07 Report published
05/07/07 Report to be published
04/06/07 Evidence session re-arranged
24/05/07 Evidence session postponed
02/05/07 Evidence session announced
22/03/07 New inquiry