Schedule II of the Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage Regulations sets out a common framework to be followed in order to choose the most appropriate measures to ensure the remedying of environmental damage.
The Common Framework, as included in Schedule II, is reproduced below:
Remediation of damage to water or protected species or natural habitats
Remedying of environmental damage, in relation to water or protected species or natural habitats, is achieved through the restoration of the environment to its baseline condition by way of primary, complementary and compensatory remediation, where:
a) “Primary” remediation is any remedial measure which returns the damaged natural resources and/or impaired services to, or towards, baseline condition;
b) “Complementary” remediation is any remedial measure taken in relation to natural resources and/or services to compensate for the fact that primary remediation does not result in fully restoring the damaged natural resources and/or services;
c) “Compensatory” remediation is any action taken to compensate for interim losses of natural resources and/or services that occur from the date of damage occurring until primary remediation has achieved its full effect;
d) “interim losses” means losses which result from the fact that the damaged natural resources and/or services are not able to perform their ecological functions or provide services to other natural resources or to the public until the primary or complementary measures have taken effect. It does not consist of financial compensation to members of the public.
Where primary remediation does not result in the restoration of the environment to its baseline condition, then complementary remediation will be undertaken. In addition, compensatory remediation will be undertaken to compensate for the interim losses.
Remedying of environmental damage, in terms of damage to water or protected species or natural habitats, also implies that any significant risk of human health being adversely affected be removed.
1.1 Remediation objectives
Purpose of primary remediation
1.1.1. The purpose of primary remediation is to restore the damaged natural resources and/or services to, or towards, baseline condition.
Purpose of complementary remediation
1.1.2. Where the damaged natural resources and/or services do not return to their baseline condition, then complementary remediation will be undertaken. The purpose of complementary remediation is to provide a similar level of natural resources and/or services, including, as appropriate, at an alternative site, as would have been provided if the damaged site had been returned to its baseline condition. Where possible and appropriate the alternative site should be geographically linked to the damaged site, taking into account the interests of the affected population.
Purpose of compensatory remediation
1.1.3. Compensatory remediation shall be undertaken to compensate for the interim loss of natural resources and services pending recovery. This compensation consists of additional improvements to protected natural habitats and species or water at either the damaged site or at an alternative site. It does not consist of financial compensation to members of the public.
1.2 Identification of remedial measures
Identification of primary remedial measures
1.2.1. Options comprised of actions to directly restore the natural resources and services towards baseline condition on an accelerated time frame, or through natural recovery, shall be considered.
Identification of complementary and compensatory remedial measures
1.2.2. When determining the scale of complementary and compensatory remedial measures, the use of resource-to-resource or service-to-service equivalence approaches shall be considered first. Under these approaches, actions that provide natural resources and/or services of the same type, quality and quantity as those damaged shall be considered first. Where this is not possible, then alternative natural resources and/or services shall be provided. For example, a reduction in quality could be offset by an increase in the quantity of remedial measures.
1.2.3. If it is not possible to use the first choice resource-to-resource or service-to-service equivalence approaches, then alternative valuation techniques shall be used. The competent authority may prescribe the method, for example monetary valuation, to determine the extent of the necessary complementary and compensatory remedial measures. If valuation of the lost resources and/or services is practicable, but valuation of the replacement natural resources and/or services cannot be performed within a reasonable time-frame or at a reasonable cost, then the competent authority may choose remedial measures whose cost is equivalent to the estimated monetary value of the lost natural resources and/or services.
The complementary and compensatory remedial measures should be so designed that they provide for additional natural resources and/or services to reflect time preferences and the time profile of the remedial measures. For example, the longer the period of time before the baseline condition is reached, the greater the amount of compensatory remedial measures that will be undertaken (other things being equal).
1.3 Choice of the remedial options
The reasonable remedial options should be evaluated, using best available technologies, based on the following criteria:
a) The effect of each option on public health and safety,
b) The cost of implementing the option,
c) The likelihood of success of each option,
d) The extent to which each option will prevent future damage, and avoid collateral damage as a result of implementing the option,
e) The extent to which each option benefits to each component of the natural resource and/or service,
f) The extent to which each option takes account of relevant social, economic and cultural concerns and other relevant factors specific to the locality,
g) The length of time it will take for the restoration of the environmental damage to be effective,
h) The extent to which each option achieves the restoration of site of the environmental damage,
i) The geographical linkage to the damaged site.
1.3.2. When evaluating the different identified remedial options, primary remedial measures that do not fully restore the damaged water or protected species or natural habitat to baseline or that restore it more slowly can be chosen. This decision can be taken only if the natural resources and/or services foregone at the primary site as a result of the decision are compensated for by increasing complementary or compensatory actions to provide a similar level of natural resources and/or services as were foregone. This will be the case, for example, when the equivalent natural resources and/or services could be provided elsewhere at a lower cost. These additional remedial measures shall be determined in accordance with the rules set out in section 1.2.2.
1.3.3. Notwithstanding the rules set out in section 1.3.2. and in accordance with Article 7(3), the competent authority is entitled to decide that no further remedial measures should be taken if:
a) the remedial measures already taken secure that there is no longer any significant risk of adversely affecting human health, water or protected species and natural habitats, and
b) the cost of the remedial measures that should be taken to reach baseline condition or similar level would be disproportionate to the environmental benefits to be obtained.
Remediation of land damage
The necessary measures shall be taken to ensure, as a minimum, that the relevant contaminants are removed, controlled, contained or diminished so that the contaminated land, taking account of its current use or approved future use at the time of the damage, no longer poses any significant risk of adversely affecting human health. The presence of such risks shall be assessed through risk-assessment procedures taking into account the characteristic and function of the soil, the type and concentration of the harmful substances, preparations, organisms or micro-organisms, their risk and the possibility of their dispersion. Use shall be ascertained on the basis of the land use regulations, or other relevant regulations, in force, if any, when the damage occurred.
If the use of the land is changed, all necessary measures shall be taken to prevent any adverse effects on human health.
If land use regulations, or other relevant regulations, are lacking, the nature of the relevant area where the damage occurred, taking into account its expected development, shall determine the use of the specific area.
A natural recovery option, that is to say an option in which no direct human intervention in the recovery process would be taken, shall be considered.
Additional Information and Links:
- National Regulations
- Addressing the Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage
- Environmental Damage
- Criteria on Environmental Damage
- Environmental Liability Directive
- Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage Regulations
- EU’s ELD Website
- Information Factsheet
- Summary of the Environmental Liability Directive
- ELD Training Material
- Malta’s Implementation Report
- Questions and Answers on the Environmental Liability Directive
- Read more about Environmental Liability