A wave of protest saves EU nature conservation laws

A lapwing The EU’s protected areas are safe (© Andreas Trepte / www.photo-natur.de CC BY-SA 2.5)

Dec 7, 2016

A groundswell of protest across the continent prompted the European Commission to abandon plans to weaken the Birds and Habitats Directives, decades-old cornerstones of European nature conservation.

The European Commission had originally intended to review the “fitness for purpose” of the two key conservation directives and “modernize” them. Many environmentalists saw this as an attempt to water down the regulations and make them more business-friendly at the expense of nature.

Faced by a wave of protest, President Juncker and his Commission confirmed on December 7th that the Birds and Habitats Directives would remain in place unchanged. “We’ve successfully blocked an assault on our environment,” explained Rainforest Rescue Chairman Reinhard Behrend, “but European nature conservation is still far from ideal.” Behrend called for the existing directives to be strengthened and rigorously enforced.

Rainforest Rescue supporters contributed to this success with more than 124,000 signatures on our petition to the EU commissioners – a campaign that drew media attention from as far away as South Africa.

While rescuing the Birds and Habitats Directives is a win for our nature at home, we are still campaigning against the EU’s disastrous biofuels policies that are driving a palm oil boom and causing untold destruction in rainforest countries. If you haven’t already done so, please sign our petition against biofuels in Europe.