Environmental rules coming in just eight weeks, says insurer

The industry has just eight weeks to prepare for the European environmental liability directive, Chubb has warned.

The legislation could force companies – mostly manufacturers – to pay thousands of pounds more for environmental damage.

Tony Lennon, European manager of Chubb environmental solutions, said the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) was not clear about the timetable for the directive’s introduction into British law.

But he believed it would be implemented by the end of March.

Lennon said: “There is a distinct lack of direction. Defra cannot say when it will come into force.”

The current law requires firms that cause environmental damage to clear the mess up. Under the new directive, companies can also be forced to improve another location – even though the firm may not have caused the damage to that patch – as a way of making amends.

“The reason is that they may not be able to clean up the original site or it may take a long time. This is the remediation,” said Lennon.

He added there was a danger firms might feel brokers were trying to push a new product on them, but stressed it was necessary to have environmental liability insurance to cover the directive.

A Defra spokesman said the directive was “weeks” away.