Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

Session 2006-07

22 March 2007

22 March 2007

New inquiry announced:

Implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive

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.

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 Committee invites all interested parties to address these matters in writing by Tuesday 17 April 2007. More information about the required format of submissions is given below.

The Committee plans to take oral evidence only from the Government.


Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to stantonc@parliament.uk. The body of the e-mail must include a contact name, telephone number and postal address. The e-mail should also make clear who the submission is from.

Submissions must address the terms of reference. They should be as brief as possible, and no more than 1,000 words. Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference, and the document must include an executive summary (no more than one page long). Please do not resubmit your response to the Government's consultation paper of November 2006€”if you wish to enclose your response to the Government's consultation paper, please do so only as an appendix to your submission to this inquiry.

Committees make public much of the evidence they receive during inquiries. If you do not wish your submission to be published, you must clearly say so. If you wish to include private or confidential information in your submission to the Committee, please contact the Clerk of the Committee to discuss this. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Personal information, such as address and contact details, should be provided separately from the body of your submission. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, no public use should be made of the submission unless you have first obtained permission from the Committee.

For further details about this inquiry, please contact Chris Stanton, Clerk, on 020 7219 3263.