Authorship Attribution and Law

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The polluter pays principle (herein PPP) stems from the international sphere, and requires that the cost of the pollution be borne by those that cause it. As one of the principles laid down in the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) environmental law of the European Union (EU) is required to be based on PPP as well as the others principles identified in the Article. As a general principle PPP is explicitly mentioned or implicitly referred to in a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, despite this no other principle has caused such profound disagreement, in order to understand the reasoning’s behind the disagreements, there is need for a detailed explanation and identification of the principle both in the national and international field.

The principle has been associated with a proclamation by Plato that ‘if anyone intentionally spoils the water of another… let him not only pay damages, but purify the stream or cistern which contains the water… despite this the first reference to PPP at an international level was not until 1972 when the OECD realised a number of recommendations stating that PPP should be used for ‘…allocating costs of pollution prevention and control measures…’and that the principle means ‘…that the polluter should bear the expenses…’ After these recommendations PPP gained standing in other international settings including the Rio Declaration, OSPAR Convention and  the European Community, as it was known then, as seen with the first environmental action programme in 1973. Since then the principle has not only seen application in the treaties of the EU but also in EU Directives, such as the Environmental Liability Directive.

This Environmental Liability Directive is based on the PPP and imposes liability on the operatives of sites for the damage or the threat of damage to protected species, natural habitats and sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), as well as any damage caused to water and land It by also requires that the operators prevent, disclose and remediate such environmental harm.

In order for the Directive to be effectively implemented into UK law the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulation 2009 was drafted and came into force on March of 2009. This extended PPP under UK environmental law by not only imposing a strict liability on operators but also a fault-based liability or negligence on operators for the damage to protected species, natural habitats or SSSI’s. In 2010 these regulations were amended in order to clarify their meaning in relation to marine habitats.

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Despite the implementation of legislation both on the international and national level the precise legal definition of PPP remains elusive. Before any treaty provisions were in place the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had shown ingenuity in expanding the EU’s competence in the environmental arena, however there has been little to no discussion as to the scope of PPP since. R v. Secretary of State for the Environment Ex parte Standley is one of the few cases in which PPP has been referred to the ECJ.

The case first appeared in the UK Courts before it was referred to the ECJ. The issue of ...

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