You may well have noticed many different wildlife NGOs campaigning on this issue; this post provides the detailed background to the campaign with the evidence, and references in the Wildlife Link Position statement.

Morwenna Mckenzie, Policy and Campaigns Coordinator, Wildlife and Countryside Link:

‘100 voluntary organisations across the UK have joined forces to call for the protection of Europe’s natural environment.   This Joint Links position statement

sets out our views on the European Commission’s REFIT ‘Fitness Check’ of the nature laws that exist to protect the most important wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe – the single biggest threat to UK and European nature and biodiversity in a generation.

Joint Links collectively represents voluntary organisations with more than 8 million members across the UK. It comprises the combined memberships of Wildlife and Countryside Link, Scottish Environment LINK, Wales Environment Link and the Northern Ireland Environment Link. Each is a coalition of environmental voluntary organisations, united by common interest in the conservation and restoration of nature and the promotion of sustainable development across the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.

We are deeply concerned by the European Commission’s decision to subject the EU Birds and Habitats Directives to a ‘Fitness Check’, as part of its ‘REFIT’ programme. The economies of the UK and other EU Member States are struggling and evidence is growing that nature is in crisis. Most people in the UK and Europe want nature to be protected and improved we believe that the uncertainty about the future of the Directives caused by the ‘Fitness Check’ could be:

  • Bad for nature – threatening to weaken vital protection for species and habitats when what is needed is proper implementation of the laws
  • Bad for people – jeopardising the protection of biodiversity also jeopardises the  wider health, well-being and ‘ecosystem services’ benefits that nature provides
  • Bad for business – threatening the stable regulatory framework for sustainable development that the Directives provide, leading to business uncertainty and investor risk.

Environmental legislation is under attack from those who wish to see existing protections weakened because they 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.

Where they are properly implemented the Directives work for nature, for people and for business. Weakening the protection the Directives provide would be a retrograde step. What we need is better implementation of existing requirements at the EU and Member State level, alongside more and better-targeted funding. This would be better for nature, better for people, and better for business. Short-sighted politics must not be allowed to put the future of nature and biodiversity in Europe at further risk.  To read more go to:

The Joint Links press release is available here;

And the position statement is here;

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