The Scottish Wildlife Trust is delighted that EU Commissioners have decided to retain and strengthen implementation of the laws that provide vital protection for Europe’s threatened species and habitats.
Many Trust members and supporters were among the half a million people from all over Europe who called on the European Commission not to weaken wildlife laws.
The European Commission's Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme (REFIT) has now concluded that the vital Birds and Habitats Directives are fit for purpose. These laws protect Europe’s threatened species such as the otter, wildcat and red kite, as well as vulnerable species with Scottish strongholds, such as freshwater pearl mussels.
Our Chief Executive Jonny Hughes said: “It's very welcome news that the European Commission’s ‘fitness check’ of the Nature Directives has finally concluded that these vital laws are both important and fit for purpose. I’d like to thank the 500,000 people from across Europe who to took action and gave their voice to the Defend Nature campaign.
“The Trust worked closely with the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and many other bodies in campaigning against the weakening of the Nature Directives, and we're delighted we got the result we were looking for.
“Now that it has been established that the Nature Directives are here to stay we need to get on with the job of properly implementing them. We also welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to maintaining European Union standards of environmental legislation whether Scotland is in or out of the EU.”
The Scottish Wildlife Trust manages a number of reserves within areas that are covered by the Nature Directives. These include Loch Fleet, Spey Bay, Handa Island and Ben Mor Coigach Special Protection Areas, and the Tummel Shingle Islands, Rahoy Hills and Loch of the Lowes Special Areas of Conservation.