Criteria for the Assessment of the Environmental Damage (CAED)



Project description and aims

As part of its 2016-2020 Strategic Work Programme, in 2019 the IMPEL Network set up a project in the environmental damage thematic area, called Criteria for the Assessment of the Environmental Damage (CAED).

CAED project has taken guidance on key terms and definitions of Environmental Damage pursuant to the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD, 2004/35/CE) as a springboard and focuses on the administrative procedures for the determination of environmental damage and imminent threat of damage under ELD.

CAED project has been included in the ELD Multi-Annual Rolling Work Programme (MARWP) 2021-2024 of the EU Commission (as activity 1.3) as one of the activities for capacity building, and it has strong links with the European Commission’s publication on March 25, 2021, of Commission Notice C(2021) 1860 final titled ‘Guidelines providing a common understanding of the term 'environmental damage' as defined in Article 2 of Directive 2004/35/EC on environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage’.

CAED project aims to define criteria for the assessment of the environmental damage and imminent threat of damage and build technical and procedural capacity in screening cases and determining clues and evidence of environmental damage and threat of damage under the Environmental Liability Directive (ELD), caused by environmental incidents, violations, eco-criminal acts.

The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a guide proving criteria for the assessment of environmental damage and imminent threat of damage under ELD, based on reference parameters relating to ‘evidence’ and ‘clues’ of environmental damage and imminent threat of damage.

In the CAED project report 2019/18 in 2020, an analysis of no. 32 ‘ELD cases’ and ‘non-ELD cases’ across no. 19 jurisdictions in the EU were conducted and common and different ascertainment and assessment approaches from a regulatory, organisational, and technological point of view were identified. The report showed how the ‘clues’ and the ‘evidence’ of environmental damage were detected and evaluated in each case study, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned.

In 2021, the CAED project developed two supportive tools for the determination of the environmental damage assessment: a Practical Guide including decision-making flowcharts and Practical Tables including indicators. Moreover, a new methodological approach based on a DPSIR (Driver, Pressure, State, Impact, and Response) model adapted to environmental damage assessment was proposed.

In 2022 the project conducted training on the tools, and in the current project year, the Practical Guide and Practical Tables are under further development to include the assessment of the evidence of damage and imminent threat of damage.

In 2023, the CAED project updated/upgraded the existing Practical Guide and Tables, already developed in 2021, with new check-lists for the screening of non-ELD cases and the identification of imminent threat of damage cases, as well as with new indicators for the identification of environmental damage cases. Moreover, the Practical tables were provided with drop-down lists and an excel macro in order to make their compilation more user-friendly.

 CAED project is still in progress in the development of training materials based on CAED products.

*Download Practical Guidance and Practical Table. For inquiries please contact


Number: 2021/15, 2020/24, 2019/18, 2022(VIII) WG3 – Status: Ongoing – Period: 2019 – Topic: Cross-cutting tools and approaches - Tags:

Subscribe to our newsletter