No one knows for certain how much land is contaminated in the UK. We have inherited a legacy of contamination from our industrial past that involved spillage, leakage and the dumping of waste. Often you just do not know it is there, but once detected there is one just one course of action available to you – remove the pollutant and clean up the site.
Under the Environmental Damage (Prevention & Remediation) Regulations 2009, Local Authorities can issue remediation notices and the Environment Agency can hand out unlimited fines and, in extreme case, impose prison sentences.
Under the impending Environmental Liability Directive, polluters will be held entirely liable for any damage to the environment including removal of the contamination and reinstatement of the environment.
If the original polluter cannot be traced, and in many instances this is not possible, (perhaps the company is no longer trading) then the current owner or occupier will be faced with the responsibility for cleaning up the site, this can be a lengthy and very costly exercise.
Environmental Damage is not normally covered by a standard Public Liability policy, however the solution is Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance. Cover can be purchased to provide protection against the cost of cleaning up both historical and future exposures, offering companies a cost effective solution to protect against pollution concerns.
Additional cover benefits may include:-
- Cover for both sudden and accidental pollution and gradual pollution
- First party (own site) clean up costs imposed by regulatory authorities
- Third party liability including diminution in property value
- Nuisance claims
- Legal costs and expenses