image of marsh harrier for natura 2000 resource

ClientEarth’s series ‘European protected areas – navigating the legal landscape’

ClientEarth has released a series of briefings examining legal requirements under the EU Habitats Directive for the management of ‘Natura 2000’ protected areas in Europe.

The Natura 2000 network is a series of protected areas covering 18 per cent of land in the EU. It is designed to safeguard Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. This series examines key provisions of the law which ensure strong protection for these areas.

To ensure that the network can meet its environmental conservation objectives, appropriately balanced with other public interests, the law needs to be interpreted correctly.

Legal protections offered by Natura 2000

These briefings have been written to help everyone working with protected areas in Europe understand the legal protections and obligations in relation to Natura 2000.

Natura 2000 sites do not exclude all human activity. Rather, the Habitats Directive establishes rules for how and when activities can take place in or near Natura 2000 protected areas.

Catherine Weller, Head of Biodiversity at ClientEarth said: “The Natura 2000 network brings strong protection for wildlife across the EU. But effective management of these areas is essential. Article 6 of the Habitats Directive needs to be understood and used for effective wildlife protection. We have written these briefings to help people working with the management of Natura 2000 protected areas understand the legal protections and requirements involved.”

There are currently eight briefings in this series:

1. An overview of Natura 2000
2. The test of ‘likely significant effect’ and appropriate assessments (Article 6(3))
3. The importance and meaning of ‘site integrity’ (Article 6(3))
4. Article 6(3): the precautionary principle and proportionality
5. Article 6(4): the precautionary, proportionality and subsidiarity principles
6. Article 6(3): What constitutes a ‘plan or project‘?
7. Article 6: compensation v. mitigation measures
8. Article 6(4): Absence of alternative solutions and imperative reasons of overriding public interest

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Andy Morffew