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Nature Conservation Notes

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A more recent version of these Nature Conservation notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.

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Nature Conservation Notes. EU Regimes. Birds Directive SPAs:

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BD - 4(1) - Species in Annex I subject of special conservation measures concerning habitats in order to ensure survival and reproduction. Account shall be taken of: species in danger of extinction, vulnerable to specific changes in habitat, rarity/small populations/restricted local distribution, species requiring particular attention for reasons of specific nature of habitat. Trends in population levels to be taken into account. MSs shall classify the most suitable territories in number and size as special protection areas for the conservation of these species. 2 - MSs to take requisite measures to maintain population of species referred to at level corresponding to ecological, scientific and cultural requirements whilst taking account of economic or recreational requirements.

Level of protection - see Art6 HD.

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Ex p Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (Lappel Bank) (1997) - Art4 makes no reference to Art2 considerations of economy + recreation for implementation of special conservation measures (making of SPAs). Thus ecological requirements laid down by 4 do not have to be balanced against interests in 2. Only criteria in 4 itself are to guide and these are ornithological criteria.

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Commission v. Spain (2007) - Spain challenged for insufficient SPAs. Claimed old list of important places for birds is better than new one and so it is abiding by rules since old one was Commission supervised. Claimed list was nothing to do with EU or public authorities and so unreliable. Commission claimed it relied on good information to define areas appropriate as under 4(1)(2). MSs required to adopt measures necessary for conservation of relevant species. For that purpose scientific data must be updated, thus necessary to use most up to date data available. Thus in absence of scientific proof to contrary the later data must be used and thus constitutes the basis of reference for decision to designate areas.
[Suggests that if any scientific data is available the MS must show contrary with own data if it wants to ignore].

Habitats Directive SACs:

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HD - 4(1) - MS to propose list of sites based on criteria in Annex III (Stage 1) and relevant scientific info indicating which habitats in Annex I and species in Annex II are native to territory. MS to transmit list to Commission within 3 years of notification of directive. 4(2) - Commission shall establish, in agreement with MS, draft list of sites of community importance. MSs who have more than 5% of territory covered by these may apply for criteria in Annex III (Stage 2) to be applied more flexibly. 4(3) - list to be established within 6 years of notification. 4(4) - Once site adopted MS concerned shall designate site as special area of conservation asap, within six years at most, prioritising important sites. 4(5) - once on list in (2) it is subject to 6(2)(3)(4).

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Ex p First Corporate Shipping (2000) - Article 4(1) does not provide for requirements other than those relating to the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora to be taken into account when choosing the sites to be proposed to the Commission (as seen in criteria in Annex III). Indeed for the Commission to then go on and produce their list of sites which are of Community importance which is aimed to facilitate the natura 2000 network which is itself a network of habitats. For this to be possible the MS lists must be completely objective and cannot be influenced by economic, social, cultural or other considerations or else the list will not comprise all of the ecologically important sites. Without such a list from MSs it is not possible to meet objectives of Directive.

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Stadt Papenburg (2010) - Commission under 4(2) to draw up draft list from MSs list, Stage 2 of Annex III gives criteria for Community importance. Those criteria created with need to protect species and habitats in Annex I and II in mind and with objectives of Natura 2000 generally in mind. Indeed 4(2) does not provide for consideration other than these to be accounted for, e.g. not economy etc. A MS can only refuse to give agreement on environmental protection grounds - other reasons would jeopardise objectives of Directive.

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HD - 6(1) - For SACs MS shall establish necessary conservation measures involving appropriate management plans specifically designed for the sites or integrated into other development plans, and appropriate statutory, admin or contractual measures which correspond to the ecological requirements of the habitats and species protected.

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