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Review of the implementation in England of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Nature Directors 23 May 2012 Robin Mortimer, Defra.

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Presentation on theme: "Review of the implementation in England of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Nature Directors 23 May 2012 Robin Mortimer, Defra."— Presentation transcript:

1 Review of the implementation in England of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives Nature Directors 23 May 2012 Robin Mortimer, Defra

2 The Habitats and Wild Birds Directives in England In Britain, protections from the Habitats Directive cover 9 plants, 12 individual animal species, + all species of bats, dolphins, porpoises, whales and 5 species of marine turtle Currently 251 Special Areas of Conservation under the Habitats Directive and 84 Special Protection Areas under the Birds Directive in England. In England, protected sites under the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives cover about 6% of land and nearly 23% of English inshore waters. By the end of 2012 over 7% of UK offshore waters will be protected sites. Responsibility for implementing the Directives largely devolved to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

3 The Review (November 2011 – March 2012) Considered implementation in England Focused on the legislative obligations for authorising development proposals, with a view to: reducing the burdens on businesses.......while maintaining and where possible enhancing environmental benefits. Aimed to understand what is working well, and where implementation could be improved in a cost-effective way Sought out good practice from other EU Member States, and significant engagement of environment and business groups

4 The Review’s Key Findings In some cases, often well publicised, costs and delays can occur for developers. These arise for a variety of reasons: o Guidance is complex: not all in one place, and operates at different levels; can reinforce perception of inconsistency and lack of transparency. o Authorisation processes for development can be complex, with responsibilities sometimes falling across many bodies o Data availability can be poor, especially in the marine environment, which can lead to highly precautionary decision making o Culture and capacity of those involved: scope to strengthen customer-focussed collaborative working and improve professional standards In large majority of cases the implementation works well, allowing both development of key infrastructure and the protection of Natura 2000 sites and species.

5 The measures announced in the Review’s Report To address these concerns, a series of measures were announced in the Report covering 4 themes: 1.Facilitating Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects 2.Improving Implementation Processes and Streamlining Guidance 3.Improving the Quantity, Quality and Sharing of Data 4.Improving the Customer Experience

6 1. Measures to facilitate Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects New Major Infrastructure and Environment Unit (MIEU) based in Defra, to identify and support resolution of Habitats Directive issues at pre-application stage Clarify the role of competent authorities when several are involved in a single development Consult on, and publish, new guidance on the use of the ‘Imperative Reasons of Overriding Public Interest’ (IROPI) test for major projects. New evidence process for relevant key infrastructure projects introduced from September 2012.

7 2. Measures to improve implementation processes and streamlining guidance Consult on and publish (by March 2013) a new customer focussed overarching guidance manual to provide clear advice on key legal terms in the Directive. Undertake, by March 2013, a comprehensive stock take of existing guidance. Create a single easily accessible web-based portal for all guidance, by August 2012.

8 3) Measures to improve the Quantity, Quality and Sharing of Data Establish a Marine Evidence Group to address marine data sharing issues, evidence gaps and ways of improving post construction monitoring. Consult on new consistent standards on the acceptable range and quality of evidence needed to enable statutory bodies to provide their advice. Facilitate, by December 2012, agreement by all involved on a practical plan to share environmental data more widely, while recognising the need to respect commercial sensitivities Statutory nature conservation bodies to publish a new approach to increasing the information on the conservation objectives of protected sites Work closely with environmental NGOs and others to improve existing surveillance of protected species and pilot new approaches

9 Defra to promote a culture of co-operation, transparency, openness and customer focus in its delivery bodies, via corporate plans and Key Performance Indicators Government encourages statutory bodies, competent authorities and business to establish staff interchange arrangements Stakeholder roundtable in autumn 2012 to discuss progress towards establishing a customer-focussed culture 4. Measures to improve the customer experience

10 The link to ecosystems An Ecosystems Approach Government will invite the newly established Natural Capital Committee to give early consideration as it develops its work programme to the following issues: o How an Ecosystems Approach can help evaluate any specific choices over mitigation or (ecological) compensation o Extent to which an Ecosystems Approach could help to identify suitable measures to help deliver Favourable Conservation Status; and o The wider role an Ecosystem Approach can play in helping to make strategic choices about mitigation/compensation where a number of projects are impacting on the same area.

11 Would be interested to hear more about  In your implementation of the Directives, have you encountered any similar issues?  What steps have you taken to improve your implementation of the Directives that we could learn from?  How should we approach this in the review of national implementation in 2013?

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