Action alert! Don’t let review dilute EU’s vital nature laws

Bottlenose Dolpin ©Sarah Baulch lr

Bottlenose dolphin in Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation, Wales; both this species and the area are designated under the Habitats Directive © Sarah Baulch

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The EU Birds and Habitats Directives (aka the Nature Directives) exist to protect wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe – but these laws are under review by the European Commission and at serious risk of being weakened.

The review, called the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT), will be used by some big business to try to dilute the legislation and remove what they see as unnecessary barriers to business and economic growth.

We need to ensure this doesn’t happen.

EIA has joined forces with 99 other voluntary organisations across the UK to call for the protection of Europe’s natural environment and we need your help. On April 30, the European Commission launched its public consultation on the Directives – you can have your say using the ‘Nature Alert’ electronic form below, enabling you to respond to the consultation easily.

These Directives offer vital protection to more than 1,400 rare or threatened species of animals and plants in Europe. Adopted to address failures and inconsistencies in national nature protection, since the Directives came into place some 27,000 areas of nature-rich habitat covering approximately 18 per cent of the EU and over four per cent of its seas have been designated and protected as part of the Natura 2000 network.

Evidence shows that these sites have been behind the recovery of some of Europe’s most threatened species. Where they are properly implemented, the Directives work for nature and for business, providing a regulatory framework for sustainable development. They are the cornerstone of nature protection in Europe and essential to EU-wide attempts to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity.

In the current political context, any revision of the Directives would risk a reduction in nature protection, leaving the long-term future of Europe’s biodiversity vulnerable to short-term political priorities. The justification for EU-level action on biodiversity conservation remains as strong as ever.

It is essential that the European Commission knows how important nature protection and its laws are to EU citizens.

Please add your voice to the consultation to help ensure the Directives are kept in place, fully implemented and enforced in every member state of the EU.