The Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) provides for a common framework, based on the 'polluter pays' principle, to prevent and remediate environmental damage in EU Member States.
The fundamental principle of the Directive is that an operator whose activity has caused the environmental damage or the imminent threat of such damage is to be held financially liable, in order to induce operators to adopt measures and develop practices to minimise the risks of environmental damage so that their exposure to financial liabilities is reduced.
The ELD is concerned with "pure ecological damage", and is based on the powers and duties of public authorities ("administrative approach") as distinct from a civil liability system for "traditional damage" (damage to property, economic loss, personal injury).
An overdue report from the Commission required by Article 18(2) of the Directive is anticipated to contribute to further policy development in the field.
The Environmental Protection Agency is designated as the competent authority for these Regulations.
The 2013 report to the EU Commission on the application of the Directive in Ireland is available here
There has been subsequent amending legislation and a range of studies and reports regarding the ELD.