Please defend the Nature Directives

The EU is consulting on the future of the two Nature Directives – the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

Chair of the Joint Links’ Habitats and Birds group Kate Jennings, (RSPB), said: “The Habitats and Birds Directives are the foundation of nature conservation across Europe and are scientifically proven to be effective where properly implemented. The Directives deliver demonstrable benefits for nature, as well as significant social and economic benefits.

For over 30 years they have protected some of our best loved and most iconic landscapes from the Scottish Flow County to the sand dunes and marshes of the north Norfolk coast. They are essential to the protection of species large and small, from the Basking Shark and the Harbour Porpoise, to the Dartford Warbler and the Hazel Dormouse.

The strength of support from 100 voluntary organisations across the UK shows how significant the Directives are in safeguarding Europe’s biodiversity. Uncertainty over the future of the Directives resulting from the ‘Fitness Check’ review could be bad for nature, bad for people and bad for business.

So, please take a few moments to add your name to the response – it may be the best thing you have ever done for nature. Over 250,000 responses have already been made.


10 Replies to “Please defend the Nature Directives”

  1. There is a need for reform of EU environmental policy – but it isn’t in the nature directives, but rather the CAP. Spending enough money every year to save Greece, CAP is failing in virtually everything it set out to achieve – it is increasingly hard to see it as anything other than a subsidy to the supermarkets, rather as UK Tax Credits subsidise big, rich companies like Next in paying their employees below the living wage. If economic growth is what you are looking for, modernising CAP from its 1950s priority of maximising food production to tackling issues it has generated – water polluted with farm fertiliser & pesticides, destruction of nature through intensification at one end, abandonment at the other – to multi-purpose land use to not just solve these problems but increase resilience to climate change is what Europe should now be doing. In the UK the huge public subsidies going into releasing carbon into the atmosphere from our moorlands could hardly be a better example of where reform is urgently needed.

      1. Sadly I suspect that’s not on the Government agenda, that is the ex-greenest one ever?

        There was opportunity to reform CAP & look what happened …. until there is an alternative voice for nature (or a collective collaboration) then it will slip further down the political agenda, after all it gets in the way of private profits?

  2. This is absurd. The Commission is carrying out a review of most of its regulatory activities and has now got to the Nature Directives. The stated aim is “a comprehensive policy evaluation aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is ‘fit for purpose’. The aim is “an evidence-based critical analysis of whether EU actions are proportionate to their objectives and delivering as expected. “
    To that end the Commission has done a comprehensive review of the literature and is now inviting citizens to express their views in the form of a lengthy and wide ranging questionnaire.
    Here are the details.
    Now it may be that the Directives are perfectly able to cope with, say, all the challenges of climate change; it may be that there is enough money around to meet all the aspirations; it may be that every member state understands its obligations – but I think it’s worth checking, just to be on the safe side, just in case.
    For anyone who agrees, here is the questionnaire. I’m afraid it does require a little more thought than the one click nature alert though.

  3. The Naturealert click response. The Commission is not “considering undermining” the Directives, its considering whether they are still fit for purpose. I gave some suggestions why I think its worth reflecting on the point rather than just assuming they are perfect for all time – nature is complicated; and it changes.

    1. Christopher – ah, I see. Well, over 300,000 people disagree so far and have clicked – presumably after thinking about it.

      And the Birdlife International and WWF European networks are supporting this response – presumably they thought about it too. Or do you think they didn’t?

      And no-one has said that the directives are perfect – just that tinkering with them might do more harm than good. I suspect that many people distrust the motives of the Member States which have pressed for this review. UK citizens probably remember the bile about environmental regulation that spilled from the Chancellor’s lips a few years ago – have you forgotten that? Or did you agree with him? these were his words: “We will make sure that gold-plating of EU rules on things like habitats aren’t placing ridiculous costs on British businesses.”

  4. If the consultation was asking “shall we tinker about with wording of the Directives on the basis of who shouts the loudest?” , as Naturealert seems to think, I might have some sympathy. But that isn’t what it’s asking, it’s actually asking important things like whether a lack of funding is limiting the chances of meeting the Directives objectives. I think that’s an issue worth engaging with.

    1. Christopher – the Naturealert does deal with it. And over 300,000 people have given their answer.

  5. I would rather the Prime Minister of this country did not do away with green crap as he so beautifully put it. I would also prefer that Europe did not undermine the legislation that it has already introduced to protect nature. We are the guardians and custodians of nature we do not own it! It is not ours to do with as we see fit. It is free it is for everyone and it is forever not just this Parliamentary term. Nature gives without asking for anything in return, except maybe to be left alone.

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