THE EUROPEAN Commission has made good on its plans to table formal legislation forcing polluters to pay for the cleansing of the European Union's land, seas, rivers and atmosphere from the toxins that they have released.

Ministers will now be asked to approve a directive on environmental liability, allowing public authorities to hold companies legally responsible, not only for repairing ecological damage, but also for taking precautions to prevent such problems.

Regulators would have to demonstrate that a private or state-owned ...

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