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European court backs UK over habitats rules

A European Commission claim that UK planning permission rules breached the EU's 1992 habitats directive was dismissed in the European court of justice on Thursday. The Commission was unable to prove that derogations to habitats protection granted under the UK's two-step system did not fulfil the directive's requirements. In a separate case, an advocate general advised that a decision by the Austrian government to allow construction of a golf course despite a negative environmental impact assessment should be condemned in the court. See judgement in case C-434/01 and opinion in case C-209/02.

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