The Environmental Liability Directive entered into force on 30 April 2004.

This Directive was originally construed in parallel with other Directive, particularly the EU’s Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora; Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds; Directive 2000/60/EC establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy; and Directive 2008/56/EC establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy, focussing the attention on natural habitats, protected species, water status and land contamination aspects.

The ELD was later amended four times through Directive 2006/21/EC on the management of waste from extractive industries; through Directive 2009/31/EC on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending several directives; through Directive 2013/30/EU on safety of offshore oil and gas operations and amending Directive 2004/35/EC; and through Regulation (EU) 2019/1010 on the alignment of reporting obligations in the field of legislation related to the environment. The amendments broadened the scope of strict liability by adding the “management of extractive waste” and the “operation of storage sites pursuant to Directive 2009/31/EC” to the list of dangerous occupational activities in Annex III of the ELD. The Offshore Safety Directive, containing an amendment to the ELD (extension of the scope of damage to marine waters), was adopted in June 2013. The Reporting Alignment Regulation adapted the reporting requirements to the need to create a better evidence base.

A consolidated version of the ELD, as at June 2019, is available here.

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