Concern that changes to directives will reverse progress

RSPB launches Defend Nature campaign
RSPB launches Defend Nature campaign

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is spearheading a campaign in response to European proposals to undertake a ‘fitness check’ on the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

The RSPB is of the view that: ‘European leaders are considering rolling back decades of progress by revising the Directives in the mistaken belief that weaker protection for wildlife is good for business. In reality, this would be bad for business, and a disaster for wildlife.’

Adopted in 1979, the Birds Directive is designed to protect all wild birds and their most important habitats across the EU. Its strategic objective is ‘to maintain the population of all species of wild birds in the EU at a level which corresponds to ecological, scientific and cultural requirements, while taking account of economic and recreational requirements, or to adapt the population of these species to that level’.

The Habitats Directive, adopted in 1992, introduces similar measures for some 230 habitat types and 1000 species of wild animals and plants — collectively referred to as ‘species of EU interest’. Its strategic objective is ‘to maintain or restore natural habitats and species of EU interest at favourable conservation status, taking into account economic, social and cultural requirements and regional and local characteristics’.

The ‘fitness check’ looks at whether the current regulatory framework is proportionate and fit for purpose, and delivering as expected. Specifically, it assesses the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value of the legislation.

More information about the RSPB’s campaign can be found on their website.

The official consultation pages, and the simple questionnaire inviting comments on the Directives are open to all.

The Landscape Institute’s Policy and Communications Committee will be issuing a response. If you would like to contribute to this please contact the policy team:


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