100 UK voluntary organisations unite to defend nature
EU REFIT campaign calls for the protection of Europe’s natural environment.
The Birds and Habitats Directives exist to protect the most important wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe. However, this EU legislation is now under review and at risk of being weakened.
Today, the ‘Joint Links' group, representing 100 voluntary organisations across the UK, has published a position statement warning that the European Commission’s REFIT ‘Fitness Check’ of the Birds and Habitats Directives is the single biggest threat to UK and European nature and biodiversity in a generation.
The organisations raise concerns that the Directives are under threat of being weakened by those who mistakenly regard them as a block on business and economic growth. In the current political context any revision of the Directives would expose them to prolonged uncertainty and leave the long-term future of Europe’s biodiversity vulnerable to short-term political priorities.
Chair of the Joint Links’ Habitats and Birds group Kate Jennings, (RSPB), said: “The Habitats and Birds Directives are the foundation of nature conservation across Europe and are scientifically proven to be effective where properly implemented. The Directives deliver demonstrable benefits for nature, as well as significant social and economic benefits.
“For over 30 years they have protected some of our best loved and most iconic landscapes from the Scottish Flow County to the sand dunes and marshes of the north Norfolk coast. They are essential to the protection of species large and small, from the Basking Shark and the Harbour Porpoise, to the Dartford Warbler and the Hazel Dormouse.
“The strength of support from 100 voluntary organisations across the UK shows how significant the Directives are in safeguarding Europe’s biodiversity. Uncertainty over the future of the Directives resulting from the ‘Fitness Check’ review could be bad for nature, bad for people and bad for business.”
The Joint Links group’s response to the EC consultation sets out a huge volume of evidence that demonstrates the effectiveness of the Directives in protecting nature, providing huge benefits for people and providing a stable framework for responsible businesses.
On 30 April the European Commission launched its public consultation on the Directives.
Voluntary organisations have also today launched Nature Alert - an electronic tool enabling the public to have their say. Take action