EU habitats directive

The Land Is Ours office at
Tue Feb 20 22:59:53 GMT 2001

EU habitats directive

'We must take our legal safeguards seriously, or we face the wiping out of 
endangered species through the creeping loss of habitats.'  Margot 
Wallstrom, EU environment commissioner.

The EU is to take the UK to the European Court of Justice for failing to 
comply with the EU habitats directive. Under this directive planning 
permission for development can only be granted for protected areas and/or 
where endangered species are put at risk where 'there are imperative 
reasons and an overriding case to do so'.

The UK is being accused of putting the interest of developers first. The EU 
has said the UK is failing to enforce the directive and granting exemptions 
to anyone who asks. If we look at Rushmoor, it is not even necessary to 
request an exemption, planning permission is automatic.

EU environment commissioner, Margot Wallstrom, believes that planning 
consent should only be granted as an exemption when there was no 
alternative to the development, exemptions should not be the norm.

The EU is taking the UK to court because it has not altered its bad 
behaviour since being formally warned last March that it was in breach of 
EU law. Revised DETR rules state that sites should not be destroyed unless 
there were reasons of overriding public interest, which included social or 
economic justifications.


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