Monday, 12 December 2016

Conservationists declare victory for wildlife as EU saves nature directives

EU president abandons plan to overhaul flagship birds and habitats directives following a huge public campaign
Wednesday 7 December 2016 16.32 GMT

The European commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been forced to abandon an overhaul of flagship nature laws after an unprecedented campaign that mobilised over half a million people in protest.

The popular birds and habitats directives protect almost a fifth of Europe’s landmass, about 200 wetlands, meadows and marine habitats, and more than a thousand animal and plant species.

But shortly after taking office in 2014, Juncker began a review to overhaul the nature laws (pdf) and make them more business-friendly, sparking an internal battle at the commission.
But on Wednesday the laws were declared “fit for purpose” without a vote and as campaigners celebrated, the environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella, hailed what he said was a win for nature in Europe.

“We have listened to public opinion very carefully,” he told the Guardian. “The main message sent is that these two directives are a milestone when it comes to environmental habitats and species [protections]. We need better and smarter implementation but these problems can be solved with non-legislative action. The directives will not be reopened.”

A record 550,000 people took part in an online consultation (pdf) about the future of the EU nature directives, with 520,000 respondents – 94% of the total – calling for the laws to be left alone. An EU consultants report (pdf) last March concluded the two laws were efficient, coherent, relevant and fit for purpose, but the paper was never published.

David Cameron pledged to protect the directives during the EU referendum campaign, as anger at any slashing of natural safeguards to appease farming and industrial lobbies grew across Europe. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails