First list of EU conservation sites approved

Commission greets belated "landmark" step, urges other countries to follow suit

The European Commission yesterday announced approval of the first regional list of sites due to form the Natura 2000 conservation network under the 1992 habitats directive. The move was welcomed as a "landmark" by EU environment commissioner Margot Wallström, who urged all EU member states to speed up their site nomination processes.

The list covers the bio-geographic region of Macaronesia, which includes the Canary, Azores and Madeira islands, all territories of Spain or Portugal. A total of 208 sites were identified, covering 34% of the islands' land area.

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