Soil pollution is not comprehensively regulated at EU level. The protection and sustainable use of soil is regulated in measures, resulting in mainly indirect protection of soil – for example, through environmental policies on waste, water, chemicals, industrial pollution prevention, nature protection and biodiversity, nitrates and pesticides, sewage sludge, forestry strategy, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and biofuels.
EU legislation partly tackling soil protection includes:
- Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC, as amended by Directive 2011/97/EU), which addresses the presence of toxic substances resulting from a land-filling operation;
- Environmental Liability Directive (2004/35/EC, as amended by Directive 2013/30/EU), which requests liable operators to undertake the necessary preventative and remedial action for a range of polluting activities; and
- Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) (2010/75/EU), which aims to ensure that the operation of an industrial installation does not lead to deterioration in the quality of the soil.
The European Commission had proposed a Soil Framework Directive (COM/2006/0232 final) in September 2006 that aimed at filling this gap and providing a common strategy for the protection and sustainable use of soil. However, the commission withdrew the proposal in April 2014 as it had failed to be enacted after nearly eight years. The commission hopes to propose legislation on soil again in the future.
Source – Lexology White & Case LLP