Select Committee on European Communities Twenty-Second Report

Natura 2000 Site Selection and Management


35.  DETR, speaking on behalf of the UK as a whole, told us that it was accepted practice in the UK to treat proposed or candidate SPAs and SACs as if they were fully designated and accepted by the Commission as Sites of Community Importance.

36.  Most EU Member States, including the UK, have still to finalise their lists of SPAs and SACs. This delay is to be regretted, but we consider the policy of the UK in offering candidate sites protection through land-use planning policies is a sound stop-gap measure. We consider that this should be recommended to other Member States as an example to be followed.

Selection of SPAs and SACs in the United Kingdom

37.  We were told that the JNCC, on behalf of the UK nature conservation agencies, had a well-developed system, based on science, which the devolved administrations and their agencies couldfollow (IR QQ 437, 439, 440). As we stated in our Interim Report (paragraph 33), we were persuaded by our witnesses that the United Kingdom had approached this important task in a logical manner. The commitment, however, to consult landowners and managers had slowed the process and added a large burden to the work programmes of the statutory conservation agencies. We believe this has been under-estimated by sponsoring departments in the past.

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