What specific provisions apply in relation to environmental liability, within the meaning of Directive 2004/35?
Directive 2004/35/EC, as amended by Directive 2006/21/EC on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage, was implemented by Presidential Decree (P.D.) 148/2009. The operator of an activity within the scope of P.D. 148/2009 bears the costs for the preventive and remedial actions taken pursuant to the law for the prevention and restoration of environmental damage caused by his operations.
Environmental liability depends on the type of activities undertaken by the operator, as described in Annex III of P.D. 148/2009, and do not require any fault or negligence. However, in order for these regulations to apply, the law requires that the operator has been identified by the competent authorities, the damage has been specified and that a causal link exists between the operator, the activity and the occurred or threatened environmental damage.
As a general rule, operators are obliged to apply the law with regard to the prevention and the remedy of any environmental damage or threat and to cover all related costs when they are liable for such damage. In addition, they are obliged to disclose to the competent authority any environmental damage and cooperate for the determination and application of the remedy measures.
In the event that there is an imminent threat of environmental damage, the operator is obliged to undertake instantly any preventive measures and to inform the competent authorities immediately. The authorities may reform the measures undertaken, provide further instructions or ask for more information.
Following the occurrence of the environmental damage the operator must inform the competent authorities, undertake the necessary measures to avoid further pollution, submit to the competent authorities any remedy proposals and undertake his own risk assessments. The competent authorities define in cooperation with the operator the necessary measures to be undertaken.
The operator is burdened with all costs and expenses for the remedy and prevention of environmental damages. The competent authority may recover remedy costs from the operator liable for causing the damage or threat directly, or via insurance coverage or other types of financial guarantees.