Article: The Europeanisation of contaminated land

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New initiatives are underway at the Community level to impose liability for environmental damage. This article considers these developments, particularly their effect on contaminated land. It concludes that as the proposed Directive has significant limitations it will leave much contaminated land in the Community to be cleaned up under domestic provisions.

This article also considers new developments on prevention, particularly through the European Commission Communication, Towards a thematic strategy for soil protection, issued in 2002 and the European Charter for the Protection and Sustainable Management of Soil.  Again, however, the provisions in these documents are limited and do not as yet provide for consistent, precise levels of soil quality throughout the Community in the way that exists for
other environmental media.  Consequently, although the ‘europeanisation’ of the contaminated land regime is currently underway, the article concludes that current laws and policies have significant limitations. So far, at least, liability for contaminated land ex post and prevention ex ante are still issues predominantly regulated by Member States.

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