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Environmental Liability Law in Spain

The main amendments of the Environmental Liability Law in Spain (recently introduced through Law 11/2014), at a glance:

1. The term “environmental damage” is extended in order to include damages caused to the environmental status of marine waters.“Water damage” is now considered any damage that significantly adversely affects the ecological, chemical or quantitative status or the ecological potential of the waters concerned; or the environmental status of the marine waters concerned.

2. The scope of the Law now includes damages caused by public works of particular relevance promoted by the Spanish Central Government or by the governments of the Autonomous Communities (i.e. the different regions in Spain).

3. The amount that should be subject to a financial guarantee (i.e. insurance) will be determined by the operators according to the intensity and extension of the environmental damage that their activities may cause.

4. The minimum content of the insurance policy is now set in the Law.

5. The financial guarantee is now required, approximately, only to a 2% of the companies operating in Spain. However, for the rest of companies, the Environmental Risk Assessment is considered the best way to identify, assess, prevent and, if necessary, remediate any environmental damage.

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