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‘Fitness check’ of nature legislation causes concern

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World Cement,

On 20 November, the ‘Conference on the Fitness Check of EU Nature Legislation’ is taking place to bring together conservationists, politicians and representatives of the EU institutions. The event is being organised by the European Commission in Brussels on the Birds and Habitats Directives, known as the Nature Directives.

It is feared that the ‘fitness check’ could be used as an excuse to weaken the existing legislation, but BirdLife Europe points to the huge public support for the protection of nature as an indicator that stronger, not weaker, enforcement is needed.  Last month, environment ministers from nine EU countries signed a letter to the Commission calling for the laws to be better implemented. In the same week, an equally supportive letter followed from MEPs representing the seven biggest political groupings in the European Parliament.

Ariel Brunner, BirdLife Europe Senior Head of Policy, stated: “The Fitness Check evidence is crystal clear - the Birds and Habitat Directives are fit for purpose and there is no case for ‘merging and modernising’ them. The Commission's first findings published last week also clearly show where the real problems lie: in poor and uneven enforcement, lack of funding and the impact of perverse policies such as the Agriculture Policy of the EU.”

Campaigners from the conservation organisations behind the "Nature Alert" campaign to protect the directives (BirdLife Europe, EEB, Friends of the Earth and WWF) will be raising awareness outside the event and will also be represented amongst the speakers.

Commission proposals on the future of the laws are expected by June 2016.

Adapted from press release by

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