The distributional implications of liability arrangements concerning land remediation
The discovery of toxic waste and contaminated land in New Zealand has drawn attention to the problem of successfully remediating land. While other nations have been managing contaminated land for some years, New Zealand has only relatively recently uncovered a history of dangerous chemical use. This thesis investigates the distributional implications which are likely to arise in response to policy governing the clean up of contaminated sites. At the present, legislation in New Zealand is being developed. However, indications are that the current land owner/occupier may be found liable for the full cost of remediation. This will have important equity implications. It is the hypothesis of this study, that by applying strict liability an inequitable distribution of the costs and benefits will result and that this will have a detrimental effect on the quality of remediation. To investigate the equity implications a specific case study was chosen to illustrate how the distribution of benefits and costs associated with the use of a contaminant may justify a more equitable remediation policy. The results show that in the case of the Hanmer Springs site, the benefits and costs associated with the use of the contaminant (Pentachlorophenol) were experienced equitably and that a successful remediation process was completed. However, it is suggested that this would not have been the case had a current private landowner been liable for the full remediation expense.... [Show full abstract]
Keywordsequity; liability; land remediation; contamination; pentachlorophenol; Hanmer Springs; PCP
Fields of Research050207 Environmental Rehabilitation (excl. Bioremediation); 150403 Real Estate and Valuation Services; 14 Economics
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