19th November 2015

Tomorrow (Friday 20th of November 2015) European Commission member states and other key stakeholders will be gathering in Brussels to discuss the draft document entitled "Evaluation Study to support the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives" This conference is part of the ongoing process of the Regulatory Fitness and Performance programme (REFIT) which seeks to look at all aspects of legislation ranging from its design through to implementation, enforcement, evaluation and, where justified, revision. The draft document being discussed at the conference concludes that the Nature Directives are fit for purpose, and any problems with them are a consequence of poor implementation and enforcement. Despite this positive finding, it's still possible for the legislation that protects nature to be weakened.

Over the last few months we have been working closely with other conservation and environmental organisations to make sure the review process is based on the evidence available. During the public consultation phase of the REFIT process in the summer, over 520,000 people across Europe spoke up to defend the legislation that is vital to the protection of vulnerable habitats and species. Thank you to everyone who joined the previous call to action. We are now asking for your help once again.

Rory Stewart, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), will be going to Brussels in December to meet his counterparts from across Europe to talk about what needs to be done to halt and reverse the loss of our wildlife by 2020. The UK led the way in the creation of the Nature Directives and Rory Stewart has said he wants to continue that tradition. The Government should oppose any changes to the Directives and commit instead to fully implementing them so they can work as intended and help turn around the state of nature by 2020.

To drive this message home we are encouraging everyone to write to their MP and share the wildlife and places whose protection you're standing up for. Urge them to show their support to Rory Stewart for the laws that defend our wildlife, before he goes to Brussels on 16 December. They will forward your email to Rory Stewart, who will reply to your MP personally - which they'll pass on to you. You can find out your MP's name and contact details at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/

You can also tweet Rory Stewart "I'm backing @RoryStewartUK @DefraGovUK to #DefendNature for [share the wildlife or place you're defending]" You can also send him a picture of your favourite site or species.

Do encourage friends and family with a love for special places and wildlife to join in by writing an email or tweeting too.

Related links:

DRAFT REPORT: Evaluation Study to support the Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats Directives http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/fitness_check/docs/consultation/Fitness%20Check%20final%20draft%20emerging%20findings%20report.pdf

Fitness Check of EU Nature Legislation (Birds and Habitats Directives) http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/fitness_check/index_en.htm

Previous posts: http://www.bats.org.uk/news.php/282/letas_make_sure_that_our_voice_is_heard_a_deadline_26th_july_2015