What are Environmental Liabilities? 

Environmental liabilities are the actual or potential costs for which the owner of a business is liable to meet their environmental obligationsEnvironmental liabilities arise at EPA licensed facilities due to  

  • the need to undertake orderly closure, restoration or aftercare. These are considered known liabilitiesthat will arise, and will need to be met, at the end of the operational lifetime of the facility 
  • Licensed operators assess and compile costings for known liabilities by means of a CRAMP or Closure, Restoration and Aftercare Management Plan 
  • the obligation to remediate the impacts of unplanned events that might occur during the operation of a facility at their facility. These are unknown liabilities, but they are foreseeable and need to be catered for. 
  • These unknown liabilities are assessed and costed by means of an ELRA or Environmental Liabilities Risk Assessment 

Financial provision is the fund or other financial instrument that licensed operators must put in place to provide for the cost of meeting their CRAMP and ELRA liabilities before they arise.   

The EPA also encourages operators to take steps to actively reduce their environmental liabilitieby upgrading their sites and improving their operational methods. This helps them to prepare for closure and to minimise risks of an incident and limit the impact of the event if one does occur. This in turn reduces the financial provision the operator must put in place. 

The costs associated with environmental liabilities can be significant, and the EPA works to minimise the exposure of the state to the costs of remediating environmental damage and pollution. This complies with the polluter pays principle and helps the licensee to meet their EPA licence requirements. 

Which licensed sites need financial provision? 

The EPA has applied a risk based approach to environmental liability and financial provision requirements.  As a result, only licensed facilities that pose a greater relative risk to the environment must assess their environmental liabilities and put financial provision in place We believe this is a balanced and fair approach for both industry and the public. It ensures robust financial security against the greater liabilities among licensed sites and also minimises financial risk to the Irish taxpayer. 

What kind of financial provision? 

Once a licensee’s environmental liability costings have been agreed with the EPA, there are a number of options available for putting in place their financial provisions. Our Guidance Document sets out the various types of financial instruments and how and where they can be used, depending on the individual circumstances of the licensee.   

Not all existing financial provisions options will be available; for example, under Irish Law, insurance cannot be used to cover the costs of known liabilities such as the closure of a facility. 

Regardless of the type of financial provision used, all financial provisions must be: 

  • secure, 
  • sufficient, and 
  • available when required. 

Licensees should consider the available options and then propose their selected instrument for agreement by the EPA. 

EPA Guidance and Resources 

This webpage contains the EPA’s current requirements for financial provision, assessing and costing environmental liabilities. It provides guidance to assist licensees in assessing their own obligations, a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the subject and a number of alternative Financial Provision Templates. 

The following links bring you to the various guidance, templates and associated documentation: 

Financial Provision Guidance Documents

EPA Approach to Environmental Liabilities and Financial Provision 2019
This document sets out how the EPA will approach environmental liabilities and financial provisions at licensed sites.

Guidance on Financial Provision for Environmental Liabilities 2015
This guidance applies to EPA licensees whose licences require them to put financial provision in place.

Guidance on assessing and costing environmental liabilities - Unit cost rates for verification 2014
Unit Cost rates for verification.

Guidance on assessing and costing environmental liabilities 2014
Guidance document on assessing and costing environmental liabilities.

 

 Instrument Specific Templates & Guidance

Bond

The Bond Template is generally acceptable to the EPA and is specific to the EPA's particular requirements. Any party intending to use the template may wish to seek their own legal advice.

    • 2021 Additional Guidance on Regulatory Requirements for On Demand Performance Bonds
    • Bond Template
    • Letter of Credit Template 

Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance (EILI)

While there is no specific EPA template for EILI policies, these documents provide guidance on EILIs as an acceptable financial instrument for potential liabilities from incidents:

  • EPA Financial Provision: December 2020 Circular on Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance. This highlights key requirements for EILI policies and incorporates previous EPA guidance on insurance.
  • Additional Guidance on Environmental Impairment Liability Insurance

Parent Company Guarantee (PCG)

The PCG Template is generally acceptable to the EPA and is specific to the EPA's particular requirements. Any party intending to use the Template should seek their own legal advice.

A Financial Strength Assessment of the parent needs to be completed first before proceeding with a PCG.

Also included are templates relating to the corporate certificate and legal opinion to accompany PCGs.

  • EPA Financial Strength Assessment for Company Guarantees 
  • Parental Company Guarantee Template
  • Corporate Certificate Template[May 2017]
  • Legal Opinion Template[May 2017]

Secured Fund

The Account Charge and Funding & Drawdown Agreement templates are generally acceptable to the EPA and are specific to the EPA's particular requirements.

Any party intending to use any or all of the templates should seek their own legal advice.

  • EPA Account Charge
  • EPA Funding and Drawdown Agreement
  • Corporate Certificate Template

Central Bank of Ireland Registers of Financial Services