Habitats directive review will help landowners deal with wildlife



The CLA today welcomed new guidance supporting the growth of rural businesses while continuing to protect valued habitats and species.

The Association said Defra’s review of how the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives are applied in England will make it easier for landowners and managers to deal with European protected wildlife.



CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "Bats, newts and dormice have been prioritised for too long making it difficult to move rural business forward. This review sets out how to comply with the Directives more effectively, promoting sustainable development in the countryside while still protecting important species.

"Of course it is good there is guidance on how the law works but the Habitats Directives were taken to extremes, with clumsy, complex and conflicting advice.

"The CLA was part of the High Level Advisory Group convened to share ideas on how the Directives should be implemented. We asked for clearer guidelines, a streamlined system to apply for consents to deal with protected species and a right of appeal for those affected to challenge decisions. I am pleased all of these points have been recognised in the review."

However, Mr Cotterell said the terms of the review were too narrow, focussing only on how two pieces of European legislation are applied in England.

He said: "We appreciate the need to protect our most valued wildlife but this should not mean all European and national legislations relating to wildlife protection are not fully reviewed."

The CLA will continue to actively support the review of wildlife protection laws currently being carried out by the Law Commission, whose consultation will be published in July 2012.

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