Finnish compliance with a requirement under the EU habitats directive to submit a complete list of sites to be protected as part of the Natura 2000 network is to be delayed by a further year, it has emerged. About 3000 individuals or organisations sent objections to site notifications to Finland's supreme administrative court during a consultation period that ended on Monday. Sources at the court said that it would take about a year to deal with the contested sites. Finland is to submit a new proposal for its nature site network to the European Commission "in the near future" according to the environment ministry, which said that this would not include any of the sites currently under appeal. The Commission announced its intention to start infringement proceedings against Finland in April due to an earlier site list it submitted being incomplete (ENDS Daily 15 April). Private owners of forest and other land are the main group of appellants, according to Finnish press reports, but some towns have also objected to site notifications, and the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners has made a general challenge to the Natura 2000 programme.
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