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Factories near pollution may be held responsible: EU court

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Factories near pollution may be held responsible: EU court

Oil refinery - Photo ERG

(LUXEMBOURG) - Factories located close to polluted areas may be deemed responsible and made to carry out remedial measures, a European court ruled Tuesday.

The court in Luxembourg ruled that national authorities have the right, if they have "plausible evidence" to presume "that there is a causal link between operators and the pollution found" close to its premises.

The case was handed over to the European Court of Justice by an Italian court after several companies in the petrochemical and hydrocarbon sector operating in Sicily's Priolo Gargallo region contested orders for them to clean up nearby pollution under a 'polluter pays' principle.

In a ruling that will concern industry, the EU court said that "the competent authority is not required to establish fault on the part of operators whose activities are held to be responsible for the environmental damage."

Judgements of the European Court of Justice in Cases C-378/08, C-379/08, C-380/08 - ERG and Others - Full texts

Environmental Liability - Directive

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