|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
EC refers the United Kingdom to the Court over its failure to protect marine species
UK in Court over failure to protect harbour porpoise in UK waters.
The European Commission is taking the United Kingdom to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to propose sites for the protection of the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a marine mammal regularly found in UK waters.
EU legislation on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive, Council Directive 92/43/EEC) requires Member States to propose a list of sites for a number of species and habitat types, ensuring their protection from threats which could seriously harm them and to maintain and restore them in a favourable status in the whole of the EU by taking the conservation measures needed.
Due to the unfavourable status of the harbour porpoises in the EU, 13 Member States, other than the UK, have designated sites for its protection in about 200 Natura 2000 sites. The UK has so far formally proposed only one small site in Northern Ireland (the Skerries and Causeway Special Area of Conservation) and one site in Scotland (the Inner Hebrides and Minches Special Area of Conservation).
As the UK has an extensive marine area, it has a particular responsibility for the protection of this species. The Commission has repeatedly urged the British authorities to fulfil their key obligations for the conservation of the species, as other Member States have done already.
Yesterday's action follows a letter of formal notice sent to the UK government in June 2013 and a reasoned opinion sent in October 2014. While the UK has recently conducted a public consultation on a number of potential sites in English and Welsh waters and this month formally proposed one site in Scottish waters, more needs to be done. The continued failure to propose and designate sufficient sites leaves the areas where the species occurs in greatest densities without the protection required. This refers in particular to the requirement to carry out adequate assessments of potentially damaging developments or activities, such as from offshore wind farm construction, oil and gas exploration and fishing.
Council Directive 92/43/EEC requires the establishment of the Natura 2000 network, the EU-wide network of protected natural areas, made of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), and Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) under the Birds Directive. Each Member State identifies and proposes sites that are important for the conservation of species and habitats listed in the Habitats Directive occurring naturally in their territory.The Commission subsequently approves them as Sites of Community Importance (SCI). Member States then have up to six years to designate them as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and to introduce the necessary management measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats present to a good condition.
The harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is a small whale closely related to the family of oceanic dolphins. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries, and as such, is the most familiar porpoise to whale watchers.
- General information on infringements proceedings in the areas of Environment.
- On the key decisions of the September infringements package, please refer to the full MEMO/16/3125.
- On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12 (an info graph).
- On the EU infringements procedure.
Latest News from
Car rental companies improve treatment of consumers, thanks to EU-wide enforcement20/01/2017 16:25:00
Following a strong increase of the number of complaints on car rental issues, the European Commission and national consumer authorities engaged with the five leading car rental companies to address these issues.
Human rights: Indonesia, Central African Republic and Burundi20/01/2017 15:25:00
Parliament condemns growing intolerance towards ethnic, religious and sexual minorities in Indonesia, attacks against peacekeepers in Central African Republic and breaches of human rights in Burundi, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.
UK and Gibraltar are a single Member State for the purposes of the freedom to provide services20/01/2017 15:15:00
The Advocate General concludes that the application of EU law to Gibraltar does not create new or supplementary rights between the UK and Gibraltar that are in addition to those flowing from UK and Gibraltar constitutional law.
MEPs reject EC blacklist of states at risk of money laundering20/01/2017 14:25:00
MEPs have voted to return to the EU Commission its blacklist of countries deemed to be at risk of money laundering and terrorist financing. The list is too limited, and should be expanded, e.g. to include territories that facilitate tax crimes, they said before voting the resolution on Thursday.
Refugees: MEPs demand emergency winter aid and transfers to other EU countries20/01/2017 14:15:00
EU and national authorities should provide emergency aid to help migrants & refugees to cope with freezing temperatures & snow in several parts of Europe, MEPs urged on Wednesday. They also called on EU governments to keep their promises to transfer thousands of asylum-seekers, particularly from Greece, to other countries.