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Introduction to the Birds and Habitats Directives David Harrison – Senior Specialist, Site Protection.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the Birds and Habitats Directives David Harrison – Senior Specialist, Site Protection."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the Birds and Habitats Directives David Harrison – Senior Specialist, Site Protection

2 Birds Directive Take requisite measures to maintain populations of wild birds at a level that corresponds to ecological, scientific and cultural requirements Taking account of economic and recreational requirements Take requisite measures to preserve, maintain or re- establish a sufficient diversity and area of habitats Classify most suitable territories (SPA) Protection of those sites

3 Habitats Directive Contribute towards ensuring biodiversity through conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora Measures to maintain or restore at favourable conservation status natural habitats and species Take account of economic, social and cultural requirements

4 Implications of Habitats Directive Establish Natura 2000 (SAC together with SPA) Protection and management of sites, including assessment and decision-making process for plans or projects that may affect them Management of landscape to support Natura 2000 Monitoring provisions

5 Site protection provisions Article 6.2 – appropriate steps to avoid deterioration and significant disturbance of species Plans or projects Likely to have a significant effect on Natura 2000 site Appropriate assessment Save in exceptional circumstances ascertain no adverse effect on integrity of site before allowing

6 Site protection provisions If can’t ascertain no adverse effect No alternative solutions Imperative reasons of overriding public interest compensation

7 Site protection provisions Precautionary principle in law Ties hands of decision-maker Departure from previous balancing exercise Still some room for balancing any public interest in project against nature conservation interest Only where no alternatives, reasons are imperative and overriding and must compensate

8 Results Can be negative perception of restrictive/inflexible legislation standing in the way of development Developers/decision-makers reluctant to accept precautionary test that most development must meet Challenges to nature conservation advice Expensive/time consuming resolution of disputes at eg Public Inquiry.

9 Results Step-wise process guides toward sustainable development solutions Greater acceptance that this is the case and must be followed Increase in early engagement over plans or projects with a view to the proposal proceeding more smoothly.

10 Experience Dibden Bay – SPA,SAC 90% of UK trade through ports Genuine need for additional capacity Many estuaries Natura 2000 Cannot have nil impact

11 Experience No acceptance of adverse effect Challenge to nature conservation advice High cost of resolution at Public Inquiry Application refused

12 Experience Humber Estuary – SPA, cSAC Immingham Outer Harbour/Quay 2005 Acceptance of likely significant effect Early work on direct/indirect adverse effects Early work to identify compensatory measures Avoidance of Public Inquiry (on this point) More recent port development too

13 Advantages Time and effort spent on positive outcomes Reduction in uncertainty and delay Lower cost Sustainable development solution benefiting nature conservation, industry, the community Positive long-term partnerships Developers contributing long-term

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