FIE has written to the Minister for the Environment pointing out a basic misinterpretation of EU law that the lobby group claims has undermined attempts to ensure the protection of designated nature conservation areas.

The Minister's Parks and Wildlife Service is insisting that an adverse impact must be proven before they will require the assessment of any possible damaging activity. Under an EU Court of justice ruling known as the ‘Waddenzee Judgment', an assessment must be made unless there is no reasonable scientific doubt as to the absence of such effects.

This critical difference has meant that again and again activities report to the Minister are ignored - from protection for the Hen harrier to the vast unregulated industrial extractions of peat.'

‘The Department of the Environment is knowingly infringing EU law on the basis of incorrect legal advice.


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