The implementation of the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD) requires a coherent procedure in respect to the evaluation of the environmental damage. The REMEDE project aims to develop and explain resource equivalency methods to be applied in accordance with the requirements of the EU-ELD. It reviews experience in the application of resource equivalency methods and develops a toolkit for decision makers for the application of resource equivalency methods.
The REMEDE project contributes to the implementation of ELD. Environmental liability is defined as a means to compensate the public for environmental damage. Environmental damage may include polluted waters, damaged habitats, decreased viability of species or forgone recreational opportunities in natural areas as a consequence thereof (e.g., closed swimming beaches or restricted fishing or hunting).
Compensation for such environmental damage may include restoration projects that provide environmental resources in lieu of the damaged resources, or some other type of compensation payment by the responsible polluters (Polluter Pays Principle). Annex 2 of the Directive describes how damage is to be restored and recommends the use of resource equivalency methods to determine the scale of action necessary to make up for any environmental damage that cannot be immediately restored to its original state. The project will also benefit the implementation and use of other European Directives that have been put in place to protect the environment, including biodiversity, natural habitats and wild flora and fauna. Relevant in this respect are the EIA Directive and the Habitats Directive.
The three main components of the project are:
- Methods development: a summary of the legal requirements of the Directive; a review of the state of the art of resource equivalency methods; the current application of these methods in the EU and US; and a preparation of a draft toolkit document which will clarify when and how it is appropiate to implement such methods under the ELD (and with reference to Environmental Impact Assessment, Habitats and Wild Birds Directives);
- Testing the Toolkit: an exploration of issues raised by the methods development phase through examining how the methods would apply to a series of detailed case studies; and
- Dissemination: communicating the project findings through dissemination materials, a series of events, and an overall project report.
Within the project, Ecologic is responsible for conducting a survey to assess the current practice of natural resource damage assessment methodologies and to collect data about the status quo of environmental liability in the EU Member States. Furthermore, Ecologic is doing thematical research on the basis of two German case studies dealing with factors of uncertainty and habitat banking:
- “Compensation for development of the Airbus facility within the Mühlenberger Loch/Germany”
- “Compensation in the form of habitat banking”
The project is funded by the Sixth Framework Program of the European Commission.