The notion of environmental damage is a rather recent development in tort law on both a national and an international level. Constant degradation of environmental goods, such as air, water and wildlife, by emissions and old dumpsites and spectacular industrial accidents causing pollution created a new awareness by the public of the environment. National legislation and new international treaties show that tort liability is attributed an increasing role in the protection of the environment by decision-makers. The most recent example is EC Directive 2004/35/EC on Environmental Liability with Regard to the Prevention and Remedying of Environmental Damage (OJ L 143, p. 56, 30 April 2004). The Directive, however, provides for a rather narrow concept of environmental liability. Although Member States are not prevented from maintaining or enacting more stringent provisions, it must be expected that the Directive will only provide for limited harmonisation of Member State laws with regard to the prevention and remediation of environmental damage. National tort law will therefore continue to play a major part in the field of environmental liability.
This book provides an analysis of how private law regimes in Europe cope with the problem of damage to the environment. In Part I, there are general introductions to the status of environmental liability in Europe and conflict of laws issues regarding transfrontier environmental damage.
Part II of the book contains the comparative project covering fourteen jurisdictions in thirteen European countries. It concentrates on the private law aspects of environmental liability.