This article summarises key amendments to Swedish environmental law which came into effect at the start of 2021. In particular, it outlines the new emissions trading regulatory framework, the state aid for certain environmentally friendly vehicles, the planned termination of the electricity certificate system, amendments regarding invasive alien species and municipalities' new information responsibility.
A number of revisions to the Environmental Code recently entered into force. The new rules apply to operators of hydroelectric power plants and plants that originally intended to produce hydroelectric power. The legislative changes aim to provide hydroelectric power plants with modern environmental conditions and ensure efficient national access to hydroelectric power.
A Swedish district court recently ruled on a matter where approximately 800 Chileans had sued a Swedish mining company for damages, based on the grounds that the mining company had exported toxic waste which subsequently caused damage to the plaintiffs' health. The court held that the mining company was not liable for damages and the plaintiffs were obliged to pay the mining company's full litigation costs.
In the mid-1980s a Swedish mining company exported toxic waste to Chile to be processed. In the 1990s the waste was allegedly used in building foundations and the high arsenic levels allegedly caused serious health issues to the local residents. Subsequently, close to 800 Chileans sued the Swedish mining company. The trial started in October 2017 after more than three years of preparatory proceedings. A decision is expected in early 2018.
The Cross-party Committee on Environmental Objectives recently presented its final report, "A climate policy framework for Sweden". The Climate Policy Framework is a result of a cross-party political agreement that will supposedly make the climate a top issue in all policy work. The report resulted in a draft bill which was circulated for consideration. The Council on Legislation presented its views on the new Climate Act in February 2017.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court established that drinking water is a product within the meaning of the Product Liability Act. Therefore, the determination of damages for municipalities and municipal companies which supply contaminated drinking water can be tried in accordance with this act. If a clear causal connection is established, it will be much easier for injured parties to obtain compensation.