MEP takes hard line on draft EU liability rules

Environment committee rapporteur proposes removal of company defences against strict responsibility

A key member of the European parliament has produced his initial proposals for changes to the EU's draft law to make firms liable for the damage they cause to the environment by accident or through negligence. Mihail Papayannakis, rapporteur on the law for the assembly's environment committee, wants to overturn a series of key principles proposed by the European Commission.

In amendments to be debated by the environment committee on 4 November, the MEP proposes removing two key legal safety nets against strict liability being imposed on firms. These are the "permit" and "state-of-the-art" defences, which would excuse firms for bearing certain clean-up costs if they respect pollution limits and use the latest technologies (EED 04/10/02).

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