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De habitattoets getoetst

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Period: January 2005 till March 2007
Status: Completed

Thesaurus term: Habitat (natural)

Institute  Top 
  • Ministerie van Economische Zaken, Landbouw en Innovatie; Directie Natuur, Landschap & Platteland (NLP), more, co-ordinator

Abstract:
Knowledge gap target group
At the end of 2004, media coverage and court judgements gave rise to the notion that article 6 of the Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora formed an obstruction for many spatial plans and projects in the Netherlands.

Research objectives
Research was carried out to answer the two following central questions:

  • To what extent does the application of article 6 of the Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora obstruct the realization of intended activities in or close to Natura 2000 areas?
  • What lessons can be learned from cases in which the application of area protection law (the Council Directive) ended satisfactorily for the parties concerned?


Results and products
The following conclusions can be drawn from this research project:

  • The permit requirement did not form any real obstruction for the authorities to grant permission for activities. Not a single permit was refused because the authorities were of the opinion that the activity was incompatible with the ecological value of the area. The case law also demonstrated that a judgement was made only in a very few cases that article 6 of the Council Directive absolutely prohibited a particular activity.
  • Considerable obstructions and delays occurred for certain activities due to the negligent application of article 6, or due to article 6 not being applied at all.
  • The quality of 'habitat tests' left rather a lot to be desired in view of the high percentage of suspensions and nullifications due to habitat tests not being carried out in a sufficiently serious manner.
  • The perception of the quality of the 'habitat test' within the responsible bodies of authority is considerably more positive than reality.
  • On the basis of the three case studies looked at in greater depth (amongst other things), it appears that the careful implementation of the habitat test and the serious consideration of comments made by third parties could save time, money and bother.
  • The prevailing topic within the habitat test is the question of whether there are any significant effects for a Natura 2000 area. The 'external effects' in particular brought about many discussions.
  • Not being able to obtain absolute certainty regarding possible significantly harmful effects does not always form an obstruction for obtaining a permit.
  • The supervision by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the direct application of article 6 of the Council Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora has not proved to be simple.

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