Advanced

The Polluter Pays Principle in the European Waste Framework Directive

Regebro, Ellen LU (2010) JURM01 20101
Department of Law
Abstract
The polluter pays principle is an economic principle through which external costs can be internalised. The principle is thus a way of allocating costs for pollution. The principle can also be described using a fairness argument, where it would seem fair that the polluter pays the costs for the pollution which he has contributed to. It has been extensively used in international law, and has been rewarded the status as one of the guiding environmental principles in European Union law. However, it is evident that the polluter pays principle contains ambiguities which have not been resolved at the international level. The principle does not answer the question of who shall be seen as polluter, when the pollution has occurred or which costs... (More)
The polluter pays principle is an economic principle through which external costs can be internalised. The principle is thus a way of allocating costs for pollution. The principle can also be described using a fairness argument, where it would seem fair that the polluter pays the costs for the pollution which he has contributed to. It has been extensively used in international law, and has been rewarded the status as one of the guiding environmental principles in European Union law. However, it is evident that the polluter pays principle contains ambiguities which have not been resolved at the international level. The principle does not answer the question of who shall be seen as polluter, when the pollution has occurred or which costs shall be covered.

The polluter pays principle has been a part of European waste legislation since 1975. The main piece of legislation in EU waste law is the waste framework directive. The principle allocates liability for costs for waste disposal or waste management to the final holder of the waste, or the previous holders of the waste. The polluter pays principle under the EU waste law also provides for liability to be channelled to the producer of the product or the distributors or holders of this product. It can be said that the pollution under EU waste legislation occurs when the waste has been created. The European concept of waste has been interpreted numerous times by the Court of Justice. The concept must be interpreted broadly in order to uphold environmental protection, and the concept of waste turns on whether something has been discarded. When something has been referred to recovery or disposal operations, there exists a presumption that it has become waste, but factors such as the impression of the general public or the economic interest for the holder will also be necessary to consider.

In most cases the polluter will be the final holder of the waste. There exists a possibility to channel liability to other actors within the polluter pays principle. This channelling does, according to the Court of Justice, require contribution to the risk of the pollution occurring to occur. The Court of Justice thus makes a proportional interpretation of the polluter pays principle where the polluter can only be held liable to pay to what he contributed.

It has been held by the Court of Justice that the polluter pays principle encompasses ex ante as well as ex post applications. The polluter pays principle can thus serve as justification for a tax for waste management. The polluter pays principle might also be applicable to costs for monitoring.

The polluter pays principle thus contains a wide discretionary ambit. The application of the principle might lead to different results in different member states. However, it must be kept in mind that the principle might be the best possible way of dealing with this form of pollution at the moment. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Förorenaren betalar är en ekonomisk princip som internaliserar externa kostnader. Principen är således en metod genom vilken kostnader för förorening kan bli fördelade. Principen kan också beskrivas genom att använda ett rättviseargument, eftersom det kan anses rättvist att förorenaren ska betala för den förorening som han bidragit till. Förorenaren betalar har använts i internationell rätt och anses vara en vägledande princip inom EU:s miljörätt. Det är dock uppenbart att principen om att förorenaren skall betala innehåller flera oklarheter. Det är svårt att säga vem förorenaren är, när förorening skall anses ha skett samt vilka kostnader som skall täckas av principen.

Principen har varit en del av EU:s avfallslagstiftning sedan 1975.... (More)
Förorenaren betalar är en ekonomisk princip som internaliserar externa kostnader. Principen är således en metod genom vilken kostnader för förorening kan bli fördelade. Principen kan också beskrivas genom att använda ett rättviseargument, eftersom det kan anses rättvist att förorenaren ska betala för den förorening som han bidragit till. Förorenaren betalar har använts i internationell rätt och anses vara en vägledande princip inom EU:s miljörätt. Det är dock uppenbart att principen om att förorenaren skall betala innehåller flera oklarheter. Det är svårt att säga vem förorenaren är, när förorening skall anses ha skett samt vilka kostnader som skall täckas av principen.

Principen har varit en del av EU:s avfallslagstiftning sedan 1975. Det främsta lagverket inom avfallslagstiftningen är ramdirektivet för avfall. Förorenaren betalar fördelar i ramdirektivet ansvar för kostnader för bortskaffande av avfall och avfallshantering. De aktörer som berörs av principen är den slutgiltiga innehavaren av avfallet eller tidigare innehavare. Principen innebär också att ansvar kan läggas på producenten av den produkt som blivit avfall, eller distributörerna eller innehavarna av produkten. I europeisk avfallslagstiftning anses förorenaren betalar träda in när avfall har skapats. Avfallsbegreppet har tolkats av Europeiska unionens domstol, som har sagt att begreppet måste anses vara brett, för att ett skydd för miljön skall kunna upprätthållas. Det relevanta i avfallsbegreppet är huruvida innehavaren av produkten anses ha gjort sig av med den. Om något överförs till bortskaffande- eller återvinningsprocedurer föreligger det en presumtion för att det blivit avfall, men även faktorer som det ekonomiska intresset för innehavaren eller allmänhetens uppfattning kan vara avgörande.

I de flesta fall kommer den slutgiltiga innehavaren anses vara förorenaren. Det finns en möjlighet att överföra ansvar till de andra aktörerna som berörs av förorenaren betalar, men då krävs det att dessa har bidragit till risken att föroreningen skall inträffa enligt Europeiska unionens domstol. Domstol gör alltså en proportionalitetsbedömning av förorenaren betalar, där förorenaren endast måste betala för det han bidragit till.

Förorenaren betalar omfattar tillämpningar såväl ex ante som ex post. Principen kan alltså fungera som ett rättfärdigande för skatter för avfallshanteringar. Det finns också en möjlighet att principen kan vara tillämplig på kostnader för övervakning.

Principen om att förorenaren skall betala innehåller således ett vitt skön. Tillämpningen av den kan leda till olika resultat i olika medlemsländer på grund av orsakerna gällande dess tolkning. Det är dock viktigt att komma ihåg att förorenaren betalar för tillfället kanske är det bästa möjliga sättet att hantera avfallsföroreningar. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Regebro, Ellen LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM01 20101
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Miljörätt
language
Swedish
id
1628122
date added to LUP
2010-07-13 18:30:41
date last changed
2010-07-13 18:30:41
@misc{1628122,
  abstract     = {The polluter pays principle is an economic principle through which external costs can be internalised. The principle is thus a way of allocating costs for pollution. The principle can also be described using a fairness argument, where it would seem fair that the polluter pays the costs for the pollution which he has contributed to. It has been extensively used in international law, and has been rewarded the status as one of the guiding environmental principles in European Union law. However, it is evident that the polluter pays principle contains ambiguities which have not been resolved at the international level. The principle does not answer the question of who shall be seen as polluter, when the pollution has occurred or which costs shall be covered.

The polluter pays principle has been a part of European waste legislation since 1975. The main piece of legislation in EU waste law is the waste framework directive. The principle allocates liability for costs for waste disposal or waste management to the final holder of the waste, or the previous holders of the waste. The polluter pays principle under the EU waste law also provides for liability to be channelled to the producer of the product or the distributors or holders of this product.  It can be said that the pollution under EU waste legislation occurs when the waste has been created. The European concept of waste has been interpreted numerous times by the Court of Justice. The concept must be interpreted broadly in order to uphold environmental protection, and the concept of waste turns on whether something has been discarded. When something has been referred to recovery or disposal operations, there exists a presumption that it has become waste, but factors such as the impression of the general public or the economic interest for the holder will also be necessary to consider.

In most cases the polluter will be the final holder of the waste. There exists a possibility to channel liability to other actors within the polluter pays principle. This channelling does, according to the Court of Justice, require contribution to the risk of the pollution occurring to occur. The Court of Justice thus makes a proportional interpretation of the polluter pays principle where the polluter can only be held liable to pay to what he contributed.

It has been held by the Court of Justice that the polluter pays principle encompasses ex ante as well as ex post applications. The polluter pays principle can thus serve as justification for a tax for waste management. The polluter pays principle might also be applicable to costs for monitoring.

The polluter pays principle thus contains a wide discretionary ambit. The application of the principle might lead to different results in different member states. However, it must be kept in mind that the principle might be the best possible way of dealing with this form of pollution at the moment.},
  author       = {Regebro, Ellen},
  keyword      = {Miljörätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Polluter Pays Principle in the European Waste Framework Directive},
  year         = {2010},
}