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Ansvar för avhjälpande vid överlåtelse av förorenade fastigheter - En analys av förhållandet mellan 10 kap. MB och civilrättsliga inslag samt dessa inslags betydelse som "omständigheterna i övrigt"

Skärblom, Tove LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Ledstjärnan inom svensk miljörätt är att förebygga skador på människor och miljö i så stor utsträckning det är rimligt och möjligt. Utöver dessa preventiva regler finns även reparativa krav som aktualiseras först när en skada på miljön redan skett. Dessa reparativa krav grundar sig i ”principen om att förorenaren ska betala” vilket innebär att den som har orsakat en skada på miljön är ansvarig för att skadan avhjälps. Den som bedriver eller har bedrivit en verksamhet eller vidtagit en åtgärd som har bidragit till en föroreningsskada eller allvarlig miljöskada kallas för verksamhetsutövare. Verksamhetsutövaren är primärt ansvarig och därmed den som i första hand är ansvarig för att skadan på miljön avhjälps. Om verksamhetsutövare saknas kan... (More)
Ledstjärnan inom svensk miljörätt är att förebygga skador på människor och miljö i så stor utsträckning det är rimligt och möjligt. Utöver dessa preventiva regler finns även reparativa krav som aktualiseras först när en skada på miljön redan skett. Dessa reparativa krav grundar sig i ”principen om att förorenaren ska betala” vilket innebär att den som har orsakat en skada på miljön är ansvarig för att skadan avhjälps. Den som bedriver eller har bedrivit en verksamhet eller vidtagit en åtgärd som har bidragit till en föroreningsskada eller allvarlig miljöskada kallas för verksamhetsutövare. Verksamhetsutövaren är primärt ansvarig och därmed den som i första hand är ansvarig för att skadan på miljön avhjälps. Om verksamhetsutövare saknas kan ägaren av fastigheten istället bli ansvarig för avhjälpandet. Fastighetsägaransvaret är sekundärt i förhållande till verksamhetsutövar-ansvaret även om fastighetsägaren i vissa fall kan få ansvara för mark-undersökningar. Vad begreppet verksamhetsutövare omfattar är till viss del fortfarande under utveckling. Genom NJA 2012 s. 125 klargjordes att även den som i syfte att avhjälpa tillfälligt påverkar en förorening är verksamhetsutövare. Ofta är det en exploatör som avhjälper marken för att göra den lämplig för nya bostadsfastigheter. Syftet med att utvidga begreppet är troligen att läka den brist som finns i begränsningen av möjligheten till regresstalan. Tidigare kunde en fastighetsägare inte föra regresstalan mot en verksamhetsutövare. Möjligheten gavs inom ansvars-kategorierna men inte mellan dem. Detta grundar sig troligen i att lag-stiftaren utgått ifrån att fastighetsägaransvaret är sekundärt i förhållande till verksamhetsutövaransvaret och att en fastighetsägare endast kommer råka ut för avhjälpandeansvar när det saknas en verksamhetsutövare. Att ett avhjälpande kan vara något som fastighetsägare, framför allt exploaterande fastighetsägare, av ekonomiska skäl eller effektivitetsskäl själv vill ansvara för tycks inte lagstiftaren reflekterat över. Genom NJA 2012 s. 125 ges en fastighetsägare som antar rollen som exploatör en möjlighet att föra regresstalan mot tidigare verksamhetsutövare.

Att miljöbalken är en komplex lagstiftningsprodukt med inslag av både civilrätt och offentlig rätt framträder tydligt i den bedömning och potentiella begränsning av avhjälpandeansvar som sker beroende på hur förhållandet mellan 10 kap. 4 § MB och 10 kap. 6 § MB tolkas. Enligt huvudregeln i 6 § är verksamhetsutövare som bidragit till en förorening solidariskt ansvariga för avhjälpandet. Den civilrättsliga tolkningen begränsar ansvaret i enlighet med skadeståndsrättsliga principer om att den vars ansvar kan bestämmas inte ska ansvara utöver det egna ansvaret. Den offentligrättsliga tolkningen å andra sidan tillmäter inte värde till en sådan begränsning. Istället anses att så länge den som föreläggs ansvaret för avhjälpande inte bidragit i så oväsentlig mån att bidraget inte ensamt motiverar ett avhjälpande kan vem som helst av verksamhetsutövarna föreläggas att avhjälpa hela föroreningen. I denna skilda utgång beroende på val av tolkningsmetod uppstår en krock mellan civilrättsliga och offentligrättsliga principer i miljöbalken.
Utöver detta kan ansvar för avhjälpande påverkas av faktorer utanför miljöbalkens ramar. Civilrättsliga inslag som friskrivningsklausuler och undersökningsplikt är sådana faktorer som rör sig i samma område som ansvar för avhjälpande. Ett rent civilrättsligt inslag har ingen självklar plats i miljöbalken. För affärsmässighet och i viss mån rättssäkerhets skull finns det dock goda skäl att ge rent civilrättsliga inslag en betydelse även i miljöbalken. Det är framför allt parterna som har ett intresse av att kunna lita på att det som genom avtal slutligt reglerats också är det som ska gälla i framtiden. Planerad ansvarsfördelning bör i stor utsträckning leda till att privata aktörer hanterar kostnaden för avhjälpande vilket stämmer väl överens med det solidariska ansvarets syfte om att avhjälpande av föroreningsskador inte ska belasta stadskassan. En möjlighet att implementera de civilrättsliga inslagen i miljörätten är att ge dem en betydelse som ”omständigheterna i övrigt” i 10 kap. 6 § MB.

Även om samhället har mycket att vinna på att låta civilrättsliga inslag vara av betydelse vid föreläggande om avhjälpande bör hänsynen till civil-rättsliga inslag ändå präglas av viss försiktighet. Civilrättsliga verktyg kan missbrukas för att undslippa ansvar och det bör därför ställas krav på de inslag som påverkar avhjälpandeansvaret. För att en friskrivningsklausul ska anses giltig bör den till att börja med uppfylla fastighetsrättsliga krav om klarhet och tydlighet. Det måste klart och tydligt framgå att det är avhjälpandeansvaret i 10 kap. MB som åsyftas. För att ett avtal ska kunna ges betydelse när tillsynsmyndigheten riktar föreläggande om avhjälpande krävs att den som åtagit sig att ansvara för avhjälpandet är solvent och har en reell möjlighet att finansiera avhjälpande. Om ett krav om solvens inte ställs finns det risk för att ett system där ansvar skrivs över på någon som varken har möjlighet eller avsikt att avhjälpa föroreningen. Troligen skulle det ganska snart uppstå ett så kallat ”målvaktssystem.” (Less)
Abstract
The main purpose of the Swedish Environmental Code is to prevent damage on the environment. In addition to this the Code also contains restorative requirements that apply only when an environmental damage has already occurred. These reparative claims are based on the so called ”Polluter Pays Principle” which states that the one who caused the damage to the environment is liable for the restorative measures to be done to correct the damage. Such a regulation is the 10th chapter of the Environmental Code. It states that anyone who is engaged in or has engaged in a business or taken an action that contributed to an environmental damage is to be held liable for the restitution. Under the provision of chapter 10 this person, legal or physical,... (More)
The main purpose of the Swedish Environmental Code is to prevent damage on the environment. In addition to this the Code also contains restorative requirements that apply only when an environmental damage has already occurred. These reparative claims are based on the so called ”Polluter Pays Principle” which states that the one who caused the damage to the environment is liable for the restorative measures to be done to correct the damage. Such a regulation is the 10th chapter of the Environmental Code. It states that anyone who is engaged in or has engaged in a business or taken an action that contributed to an environmental damage is to be held liable for the restitution. Under the provision of chapter 10 this person, legal or physical, is called “the operator”. If there is no operator available the owner of the property may be held liable for the restorative measures. However, as such a liability is secondary to the operator’s liability it only arises when there is no liquid operator available. However, the property owner may be ordered to perform certain investigations of the land. The assessment of the term “operator” and who is to be considered as an operator in the opinion of the Code is partly still evolving. The leading case NJA 2012 p. 125 states that even someone who affects a contamination as a restorative measure is to be considered as an operator. This is often a developer who is seeking to restore the property to make it suitable for the development of new housing buildings. The purpose of extending the concept of the operator is likely to heal the deficiency in the Code regarding the possibility of recourse between different liability categories. Previously, a property owner could not claim recovery against an operator. Before NJA 2012 p. 125 the opportunity for recovery was given within different categories of liability but not between them. This is most likely caused by the fact that liability of the property owner is secondary to the liability of the operator. It did probably not occur to the legislator that a property owner might want to be in charge of the restitution. By NJA 2012 p. 125 a property owner who assumes the role of a developer is given an opportunity to bring claims against former operators.

The Environmental Code is a complex legislative product that contains elements of both civil law and public law. This complexity is apparent in the assessment and possible limitation of liability that occurs depending on how the ratio of Chapter 10 § 4 and Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code is interpreted. The general rule in § 6 is that any operator that has contributed to a contamination is to be considered as jointly liable for the restorative measures. A supervisory authority can direct an injunction against one or more of the operators to impose the designated party to bear the entire cost of the restorative measures. The civil law interpretation compares the relationship between the two clauses to the principles of limited liability under Tort Law. The one whose liability can be determined is not to be held liable in addition to one’s own obligation. The public law interpretation on the other hand attaches no value to such a restriction. Instead, it is considered that as long as no operator contributed to such an inconsiderable extent that the grant would not alone justify remedial, any of the operators could be ordered to remedy the entire contamination. Thus, the outcome varies depending on the method of interpretation. It is clear that there is a clash between the Civil law based interpretation and the Public Law based interpretation of the relationship between Chapter 10 § 4 and Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code.

Above this, the liability for restorative measures is also influenced by factors outside of the Environmental Code. Principles of Real Estate Law and civil contracts that contains an exclusion clause are such elements that operate in the same area as the Liability of restorative measures of the Environmental Code. A pure civil law based element has no obvious place in the Environmental Code but there are several good reasons for the courts to give such an element significance also in the interpretation of the Environmental Code. It is essential to the parties of a civil contract to be able to trust that what the agreement finally settles is also applicable in the future. A greater consciousness according to environmental issues will hopefully as a consequence lead to more enlightened affairs where private parties to a greater extent are managing the cost of remediation. This is consistent with the purpose of the joint liability which is that the State shall not be charged with the costs of restorative measures caused by nongovernmental operators. An opportunity to implement the Civil Law aspects of Environmental law could be to interpret them as ”other circumstances” in Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code.

Although society has a lot to gain by letting contracts for remedial and other civil elements be of significance in the sense of the Environmental Code, civil instruments should still be considered with a certain degree of caution. The tools of Civil Law may otherwise be misused to evade liability of restorative measures and should therefore be subject to certain requirements on the elements affecting the liability. Exclusion clauses shall be considered valid only if they meet the legal requirements to be unequivocal and clearly points out that it is the liability of restorative measures under the 10th Chapter of the Environmental Code that the clause refers to. If such an agreement should be given any importance by a supervisory authority it is crucial that the applicant who has undertaken the liability for the restoration of the contaminated area is solvent and has a real opportunity to fund the remediation. If a requirement for solvency was not to be considered a system where the liability is transferred to someone who has neither the ability nor the intention to remedy the contamination, a ”keeper system”, should surface sooner rather than later. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Skärblom, Tove LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Liability for restoration of contaminated land after a change in ownership - An analysis of the relationship between Chapter 10 of the Environmental Code and civil law elements as well as such elements importance as "other circumstances"
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Fastighetsrätt, Miljörätt, Avtalsrätt
language
Swedish
id
3801349
date added to LUP
2013-06-13 15:26:37
date last changed
2013-06-13 15:26:37
@misc{3801349,
  abstract     = {The main purpose of the Swedish Environmental Code is to prevent damage on the environment. In addition to this the Code also contains restorative requirements that apply only when an environmental damage has already occurred. These reparative claims are based on the so called ”Polluter Pays Principle” which states that the one who caused the damage to the environment is liable for the restorative measures to be done to correct the damage. Such a regulation is the 10th chapter of the Environmental Code. It states that anyone who is engaged in or has engaged in a business or taken an action that contributed to an environmental damage is to be held liable for the restitution. Under the provision of chapter 10 this person, legal or physical, is called “the operator”. If there is no operator available the owner of the property may be held liable for the restorative measures. However, as such a liability is secondary to the operator’s liability it only arises when there is no liquid operator available. However, the property owner may be ordered to perform certain investigations of the land. The assessment of the term “operator” and who is to be considered as an operator in the opinion of the Code is partly still evolving. The leading case NJA 2012 p. 125 states that even someone who affects a contamination as a restorative measure is to be considered as an operator. This is often a developer who is seeking to restore the property to make it suitable for the development of new housing buildings. The purpose of extending the concept of the operator is likely to heal the deficiency in the Code regarding the possibility of recourse between different liability categories. Previously, a property owner could not claim recovery against an operator. Before NJA 2012 p. 125 the opportunity for recovery was given within different categories of liability but not between them. This is most likely caused by the fact that liability of the property owner is secondary to the liability of the operator. It did probably not occur to the legislator that a property owner might want to be in charge of the restitution. By NJA 2012 p. 125 a property owner who assumes the role of a developer is given an opportunity to bring claims against former operators.

The Environmental Code is a complex legislative product that contains elements of both civil law and public law. This complexity is apparent in the assessment and possible limitation of liability that occurs depending on how the ratio of Chapter 10 § 4 and Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code is interpreted. The general rule in § 6 is that any operator that has contributed to a contamination is to be considered as jointly liable for the restorative measures. A supervisory authority can direct an injunction against one or more of the operators to impose the designated party to bear the entire cost of the restorative measures. The civil law interpretation compares the relationship between the two clauses to the principles of limited liability under Tort Law. The one whose liability can be determined is not to be held liable in addition to one’s own obligation. The public law interpretation on the other hand attaches no value to such a restriction. Instead, it is considered that as long as no operator contributed to such an inconsiderable extent that the grant would not alone justify remedial, any of the operators could be ordered to remedy the entire contamination. Thus, the outcome varies depending on the method of interpretation. It is clear that there is a clash between the Civil law based interpretation and the Public Law based interpretation of the relationship between Chapter 10 § 4 and Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code.

Above this, the liability for restorative measures is also influenced by factors outside of the Environmental Code. Principles of Real Estate Law and civil contracts that contains an exclusion clause are such elements that operate in the same area as the Liability of restorative measures of the Environmental Code. A pure civil law based element has no obvious place in the Environmental Code but there are several good reasons for the courts to give such an element significance also in the interpretation of the Environmental Code. It is essential to the parties of a civil contract to be able to trust that what the agreement finally settles is also applicable in the future. A greater consciousness according to environmental issues will hopefully as a consequence lead to more enlightened affairs where private parties to a greater extent are managing the cost of remediation. This is consistent with the purpose of the joint liability which is that the State shall not be charged with the costs of restorative measures caused by nongovernmental operators. An opportunity to implement the Civil Law aspects of Environmental law could be to interpret them as ”other circumstances” in Chapter 10 § 6 of the Environmental Code.

Although society has a lot to gain by letting contracts for remedial and other civil elements be of significance in the sense of the Environmental Code, civil instruments should still be considered with a certain degree of caution. The tools of Civil Law may otherwise be misused to evade liability of restorative measures and should therefore be subject to certain requirements on the elements affecting the liability. Exclusion clauses shall be considered valid only if they meet the legal requirements to be unequivocal and clearly points out that it is the liability of restorative measures under the 10th Chapter of the Environmental Code that the clause refers to. If such an agreement should be given any importance by a supervisory authority it is crucial that the applicant who has undertaken the liability for the restoration of the contaminated area is solvent and has a real opportunity to fund the remediation. If a requirement for solvency was not to be considered a system where the liability is transferred to someone who has neither the ability nor the intention to remedy the contamination, a ”keeper system”, should surface sooner rather than later.},
  author       = {Skärblom, Tove},
  keyword      = {Fastighetsrätt,Miljörätt,Avtalsrätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Ansvar för avhjälpande vid överlåtelse av förorenade fastigheter - En analys av förhållandet mellan 10 kap. MB och civilrättsliga inslag samt dessa inslags betydelse som "omständigheterna i övrigt"},
  year         = {2013},
}