My right hon. Friend has regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on a range of issues. The Government are currently consulting on its policy on implementation of the directive, which will strengthen application of the polluter pays principle in respect of a number of forms of environmental damage including potentially from activities related to the release of GMOs.
The Environmental Liability Directive is concerned with the prevention and remedying of narrowly-defined environmental damage. A consultation seeking views on options for implementing the Environmental Liability Directive was launched in December 2006. It includes a partial Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which estimates, on the best information available, the cost benefits associated with the different options.
The Environmental Liability Directive is founded on the “polluter pays” principle. The Government wishes to encourage a change in behaviours so as to bring about reductions in the risks of serious environmental damage occurring and more effective application of the “polluter pay” principle where such damage does occur. The options in the consultation document launched in December, including the Government’s preference, would reinforce the “polluter pays” principle.