More EU legal actions launched over habitats

Sweden, UK, face the Luxembourg judges; Belgium, Luxembourg, to get final warnings

Four EU states are to be targeted with further infringement actions over failure to comply with the 1992 EU habitats directive, the European Commission announced today. Court cases are to be launched against Sweden and the UK for failure to nominate a complete list of areas to become part of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites. Belgium and Luxembourg are to be sent reasoned opinions (final warnings) for failure to transpose the directive fully into national legislation.

Both Sweden and the UK have nominated sites to become part of the Natura 2000 network. In Sweden's case details of over 1050 were supplied between 1995 and 1998 (ENDS Daily 23 January 1998), the Commission notes, while the UK has communicated a total of 340 (ENDS Daily 24 June 1999).

Nevertheless, the EU executive complains, both lists are insufficient. In the case of the UK, this applies to "nearly half" the relevant endangered habitat types and wildlife species listed in the 1992 directive, based on the presence of which a full list of sites should have been nominated by 1995. Similar court cases are already underway against Germany, France, and Ireland, the Commission added today.

Reasoned opinions are to be sent to Belgium and Luxembourg, meanwhile, over several deficiencies in their national legislation implementing the habitats directive. For both states these include requirements for conservation measures for future special areas of conservation (SACs) under the directive and the extension of some of them to special protection areas (SPAs) for birds, the Commission says.

Follow Up:
A European Commission press release on the case dated 11/1/00, (IP/00/18) is posted on Rapid.

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