Environmental liability takes on a double function. It creates incentives for the proactive prevention of environmental detriment on the one hand, and otherwise forces the perpetrator to pay for the resultant damage. Environmental liability is directed by the burden of proof principle. This means that the one causing environmental damage is made responsible for that damage, thus relieving the general public of financial burden.
The term “environmental damage” describes harm to the environment in the broadest sense:
material, personal and property damage through an environmental path, i.e., soil, water and air
ecological damage, i.e. damage to the balance of nature
Environmental liability in the EU:
The national legal systems of the EU member states often fail to include liability for ecological losses. Ecological damages are those damages which originate directly in the environment, and not in individual goods. With the EU Directive on Environmental Liability, this gap was bridged and and an EU-wide uniform liability for damages to a variety of species and habitats was established. The guideline aims at both the avoidance and rehabilitation of damages to the environment.
SPACE provides information on the extent to which a commercial or industrial enterprise has any potential ecological risks due to its location.