The Polluter Pays Principle And Its Implementation In The Uk And Ec Law

3725 words - 15 pages

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWENVIRONMENTAL LAW- ESSAYDiscuss the following principle and its application within EU and UK law: "The polluter pays".1.IntroductionThe polluter pays principle can be identified as one of the most significant principles that guide Environmental Law. Although it is complicated and sometimes diverse, it appears to be a main requirement for the regulation of pollution prevention and pollution control. However, many difficulties have risen in its application to both national and international fields, therefore a detailed explanation and identification of the principle is essential to be done."If anyone intentionally spoils the water of another...let him not only pay damages, but purify the stream or cistern which contains the water..." (Plato) . This is in a very general way the meaning of the polluter pays principle, more likely the origins of the principle. It applies to any kind of pollution and it has been discussed for many years, or centuries as one may say. But currently it is relevant as a principle of the latest developments of environmental law, mostly related to the European Community Law.It was the OECD which suggested the policy that the person who was responsible for creating the pollution shall be charged with the cost of the pollution prevention, control and restoration measures, and the UN/ECE one of the first that began to take into account such principle. The OECD defines the polluter pays as a means of "ensuring that the polluter (or resource consumer) should be charged with the cost of whatever pollution prevention and control measures are determined by the public authorities" .The PPP was gradually adopted in the legislation of the UK, as it was embedded in the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environment Act 1995 . But before that, it has been in the political agenda since 1990, in particular in a White Paper called "This Common Inheritance" . However, the exquisite development occurred when the principle was enshrined into the Maastricht Treaty in 1997, in particular in Articles 174-176 , although it had been around in the Community Law for years.2.Definitions - Identifying the polluter.But who is the so called "polluter" that the principle is all about? Before we examine the application of the principle through legislation in detail, it is important to define, what the contexts mean when referring to a polluter and what implications may incur because of the unclear and very broad definition of the PPP.Looking only in the European Community Law, it is obvious that there are different linguistic versions of the principle. Six languages assert that the "polluter pays", Greek, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Danish. The French call it the "polluter-payer principle", the Germans causation principle and the English believe that the "polluter should pay".An excellent example of the difficulty of giving a specific meaning to the polluter is air pollution by the gas emissions of cars. Who is to be...

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