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The polluter pays principle and the remediation of the land

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jats:sec <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Purpose</jats:title> jats:pThe purpose of this article is to examine the national law regimes related to the remediation of contaminated land.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Design/methodology/approach</jats:title> jats:pThe methodology used is comparative. Models for different systems are described on the basis of varying interpretations of the polluter pays principle. The regimes present in the Member States are then analysed to see which model they have adopted. A comparator from each model group is then considered.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Findings</jats:title> jats:pThis article presents three key findings. First, it concludes that the extent to which additional national legislation relating to environmental damage is permitted, which depends upon the notion of “more stringent” legislation, is incoherent where more than one interpretation is given to the polluter pays principle. Second, the different interpretations given to the principle undermine harmonisation. Finally, this has wider implications for how we justify liability for contaminated land.</jats:p> </jats:sec> jats:sec <jats:title content-type="abstract-subheading">Originality/value</jats:title> jats:pThis comparative study of the interpretation of the polluter pays principle, through its implementation in Member States, provides a valuable and novel insight into environmental liability regimes in Europe. It also demonstrates the different type of regimes that are developed on the basis of such different interpretations. Although the different national attitudes to contaminated land policy and remediation have been considered before, this article adds to this debate by suggesting a central cause of such variation in the shape of different interpretations of a principle of the European Union.</jats:p> </jats:sec>



contamination, environmental liability, polluter pays principle

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International Journal of Law in the Built Environment

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