The EU Birds and Habitats Directives are an invaluable tool for protecting Europe’s most important sites for nature, together with stakeholders. Despite this, SPAs (Special Protection Areas - Natura 2000 sites designated under the Birds Directives) frequently come under threat, or are even destroyed, by harmful development or land use changes. In many cases this happens when authorities and developers do not follow the appropriate procedures for assessing the impact of their activities, ignore alternative solutions with lesser impact or fail to provide adequate compensation measures for any loss of wildlife and habitats.
BirdLife Partners and the European BirdLife Secretariat in Brussels monitor threats to SPAs. If actions at the national level don’t bear the required results, there is always the option of filing a formal complaint to the European Commission, who then has the obligation of assessing each case. If it finds the Member State in question neglecting their obligations under the Birds or Habitats Directives, the Commission can start a legal process that can lead to a Judgement from the European Court of Justice against the Member State. Over the years, BirdLife Europe has successfully launched and followed many such complaints, not only to protect individual sites but also for the lack of designation of SPAs.
Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.