Under the Environmental Liability Directive either the operator of an occupational activity, or a third party, is liable for preventing or remediating environmental damage. “Operator” is defined as:
“any natural or legal, private or public person who operates or controls the occupational activity or, where this is provided for in national legislation, to whom decisive economic power over the technical functioning of such an activity has been delegated, including the holder of a permit or authorisation for such an activity or the person registering or notifying such an activity”
“Occupational activity” is defined as:
“any activity carried out in the course of an economic activity, a business or an undertaking, irrespectively of its private or public, profit or non-profit character”
A third party could be a private individual whose actions have given rise to a threat of or actual environmental damage from an occupational activity despite safety precautions taken by the legitimate operator of that occupational activity.
The Environmental Liability Directive defines, in Article 2.3(a), the species which fall within its scope. These are species protected under European legislation.
The Directive further provides for member states to decide whether or not to bring within its scope species designated for protection under national legislation.