A new plan to improve nature and biodiversity around Europe has been released by the EU. It comes after 500,000 people told the Commission not to review existing nature laws, which would have undoubtedly weakened them.
ClientEarth lawyer Catherine Weller said: “Everyone agrees the nature laws are strong and fit for purpose. Now we need to see concrete action where they are not being properly used. The action plan must make sure the laws achieve their full potential – protecting plants, animals and landscapes around Europe.
“We welcome the Commission’s commitment to better implementation of the Nature Directives and to the completion of the Natura 2000 network of protected sites. However, if we are to stop and reverse biodiversity loss across Europe, the commitment needs to go further, like ensuring funding and resourcing gaps are properly filled.”
The plan promises an increase of just 10% to the Commission’s environmental fund (LIFE), which the document itself acknowledges is ‘a relatively small EU funding instrument.’ This increase will only go a small way to meeting the annual need for 5.8 billion Euros the Commission says is necessary to implement the nature directives. The Commission has suggested that it will try to fill this hole with private funding, but how this will be achieved is not laid out clearly.
The Birds and Habitats Directives – collectively known as the nature directives – protect animals and habitats across Europe, particularly through the Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world.