You hear that you shouldn’t do it, and that you can get in some serious trouble if you cause it to happen, but what does environmental damage mean?
To be open with you, I had to look up the word damage to get it straight in my mind, damage is essentially harm caused to something which causes impairment to function, usefulness and/or value.
There are 3 classifications of environmental damage. Damage to-
- Biodiversity – including protected species and habitats
- Land – causing risks to any receptor (e.g. human health)
- Water – adversely effecting water quality and / or causing a risk to any receptor
The classifications come from the European Union Environmental Liability Directive and are regulated in the UK by the EA and SEPA.
The EA uses the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation ) Regulations 2009 (EDR) to enforce the EU Directive, while in Scotland the Directive is enforced through The Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009. The main purpose of these regulations is to enforce the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle, they give the regulators powers to prevent polluting activities where possible, and make the polluter pay if they do cause environmental damage.
A couple of points worth noting in my opinion, firstly, these regulations do not supercede any other regulations or laws, secondly, that these regulations are only enforceable when an economic activity is taking place.
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