Rely on the most comprehensive, up-to-date legal content designed and curated by lawyers for lawyers
Work faster and smarter to improve your drafting productivity without increasing risk
Accelerate the creation and use of high quality and trusted legal documents and forms
Streamline how you manage your legal business with proven tools and processes
Manage risk and compliance in your organisation to reduce your risk profile
Stay up to date and informed with insights from our trusted experts, news and information sources
Access the best content in the industry, effortlessly — confident that your news is trustworthy and up to date.
With over 30 practice areas, we have all bases covered. Find out how we can help
Our trusted tax intelligence solutions, highly-regarded exam training and education materials help guide and tutor Tax professionals
Regulatory, business information and analytics solutions that help professionals make better decisions
A leading provider of software platforms for professional services firms
In-depth analysis, commentary and practical information to help you protect your business
LexisNexis Blogs shed light on topics affecting the legal profession and the issues you're facing
Legal professionals trust us to help navigate change. Find out how we help ensure they exceed expectations
Lex Chat is a LexisNexis current affairs podcast sharing insights on topics for the legal profession
Printer Friendly Version
The European Commission has referred the UK to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), alleging a failure to propose a list of sites which would ensure the protection of the harbour porpoise, in breach of Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora of 21 May 1992 (Habitats Directive).
Lexis®PSL subscribers can enjoy expert guidance by accessing some of the links below. If you are not a subscriber, you can take a free Lexis®PSL Environment trial here.
The Commission has referred the UK to the ECJ due to dissatisfaction with the protection measures taken by the UK in relation to the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a marine mammal regularly found in UK waters. The referral follows a request for
information sent to the UK government in June 2013 and a request that the UK inform the Commission of the measures taken to comply with the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC in October 2014.
The Commission is not asserting a complete failure to comply with the Habitats Directive. It acknowledges that the UK has proposed small sites in Northern Ireland and Scotland and launched a consultation regarding further potential sites in England and Wales. The Commission is taking issue with the adequacy of the steps
taken thus far and believes the UK has failed to:
The Commission has noted that 13 other Member States have already designated sites for protection of the porpoise in about 200 Natura 2000 sites. The Commission is of the view that because the UK has an extensive marine area, it has a higher level
of responsibility and should be doing more to ensure the protection of the porpoise.
The Habitats Directive requires a network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas for birds (SPAs) to be set up under the title 'Natura 2000'. Each Member State identifies and proposes sites that are important
for the conservation of species and habitats listed in the Habitats Directive occurring naturally in their territory. The Commission subsequently approves them as Sites of Community Importance (SCI).The list must be periodically reviewed. According
to the Commission it has repeatedly urged the UK government to fulfil its obligations in respect of conservation of the porpoise, as other Member States have done already, but this has not occurred.
The Commission is empowered by Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to commence proceedings against Member States that are not fulfilling their obligations under EU law. A referral to the ECJ follows the issue of a
request for information and a formal request to comply if the Commission is dissatisfied with the Member States' response, or the measures taken by the Member State in response.
A hearing date is yet to be confirmed. If at the hearing, the ECJ considers there has been insufficient compliance, it will issue an order setting out the steps the UK must take to comply and can impose a financial penalty on the UK for non-compliance.
The UK has a long-running tradition of laws designed to protect the countryside. However the extent and format of post-Brexit habitat protection laws is unknown. In addition the protection afforded by the ability any non-compliance to refer to the ECJ
will no longer be available. The result could be a greater risk to protected species such as the harbour porpoise.
Click here for a free trial to access if you are not a PSL subscriber.
0330 161 1234