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Confirmation of strength of EU nature laws shows why UK must vote ‘in’

Environmental lawyers ClientEarth are urging the European Commission to push ahead with improving implementation, after a leaked draft confirms that vital EU nature laws are fit for purpose.

The leaked draft report states that the Birds and Habitats Directives will work if implementation is better enforced by member states.

The leak follows recent confirmation from the Commission that the final evaluation of the laws, which was due to be published in June, was to be delayed.

Catherine Weller, senior lawyer at ClientEarth said:

“The strong message in this draft aligns with our own evidence. The Nature Directives are good laws and they are worth keeping – and the draft appears to confirm yet one more reason for Britain to vote to remain part of the EU on Thursday.”

Why are EU nature laws up for assessment?

The laws, which protect wildlife across Europe, have been the subject of a fitness check by the European Commission, according to the guidelines of better regulation. The fitness check assessed if they are effective, efficient, coherent, relevant and have “EU added value”.

Since August 2014, consultants for the Commission have been gathering evidence to assess whether the Nature Directives need to be revised.

The leaked draft report confirms that the evidence submitted to the Commission shows the laws are effective, fit for purpose, and highlights that better implementation, not revision, should be a priority in the near future.

The draft report shows that the Directives have generated a fundamental change in the management of protected areas and have been particularly effective in providing protection of important biodiversity rich sites from developments and other damaging activities.

Further to this, the draft report shows that the Nature Directives are in line with the EU’s wider social, economic and environmental objectives, and make a significant contribution to achieving the EU’s biodiversity targets.

Catherine added:

“The Nature Directives are the strongest tools we have for protecting Europe’s wildlife. We urge the Commission to release their final report and to start acting on the highlighted implementation issues without delay.”

Across Europe over 500,000 people responded to the public consultation telling the Commission they wanted a focus on implementation and not revision.

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