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News EU Commission in nature protection offensive

Concerned URL
Release date 23/07/2002
Contributor janhei

Nine EU member states are being targeted with infringement actions for failure to respect the bloc's nature protection standards, the European Commission announced today. All cases relate to alleged breaches of either the 1979 birds directive or the 1992 habitats directive, the twin laws underpinning the Natura 2000 network. France faces the prospect of daily fines after the Commission announced a reasoned opinion - a second warning before court proceedings commence - accusing Paris of failing to comply with an earlier European court of justice ruling that it should bolster protection of the Marais Poitevin marsh in the west of the country (ED 29/11/99 Finland is to make a first trip to the court for allegedly failing to limit waterfowl hunting in spring. It will also get two reasoned opinions; the Commission says its controls on the hunting of wolf, lynx and brown bear are too lax, and that a power line construction project is endangering protected sites. Luxembourg will also have to defend itself in court after allegedly designating too few special protection areas for birds, despite recent "significant progress". The EU executive says the legal protection afforded to designated sites also lacks key elements. Four other states will get reasoned opinions: ITALY because the Commission says it approved a tourism development in L'Aquila, Abruzzo, before assessing the impact on the Gran Sasso Monti della Laga national park; the UK because it allows "environmentally damaging" dredge fishing in Camarthen Bay, Wales; PORTUGAL because it has not properly protected the Moura/Mourão/Barrancos area; and SWEDEN because its list of candidate Natura sites is still incomplete. In addition, FRANCE, LUXEMBOURG, ITALY, the NETHERLANDS and SPAIN, are to be sent reasoned opinions for not having provided an official report on national implementation of the habitats directive from 1994 to 2000. The report was due last September.

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