20th January 2016
The Nature Directives are, yet again, under threat as they will be put to a vote in the European Parliament in the first week of February. We hope that our MEP's will do their part in defending our nature and vote in favour of a key report which provides evidence-based information that these Directives should not be weakened.
The Nature Directives provide the highest level of protection to our habitats and species and ensure that this protection is consistent across Europe. They are a very important part of the protection afforded to bat species across Europe. They have been under review by the 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.
There is political pressure to weaken these Directives which would result in negative impacts to habitats across Europe as well as for many bat species. The Environment Committee, formed by a group of dedicated MEP's, have produced an evidence-based report which heavily supports keeping the Nature Directives as they are. Not only that, they have also focused on how they should be put into practice in each member state with the goal of securing nature's recovery by 2020.
It is now up to our MEP's to ensure this report has the full support it should have. The February vote in the European Parliament is their chance to show a united front and a strong political message in favour of the crucial Nature Directives.
However, you can make the difference too. Over last summer more than 520,000 people spoke up to save the Nature Directives including hundreds of Bat Conservation Trust members and supporters; Thank you if you contributed to what was the largest EU consultation ever! During autumn in the UK we asked for you to write to your MP's asking them to support UK Environment Minister Rory Stewart in defending these directives (read our news piece HERE). You did and it worked - "The UK does not wish to renegotiate the Directives", he said, together with 12 other EU countries.
So, what can you do this time
1. Write an email, from your personal email address, to your MEPs before the end of January, asking them to defend nature by voting for the report to make it the official position of the European Parliament
- Send a physical letter to your MEPs' offices in Brussels. They don't often receive letters from constituents to their Brussels offices so just a small number could make a real difference.
You can find the MEP's contact details here: http://www.europarl.org.uk/en/your-meps.html
2. Share this information with your friends and family encouraging them to take action
If you have any queries about this please email firstname.lastname@example.org .
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
NOTES TO EDITORS:
The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) is the only national organisation solely devoted to the conservation of bats and their habitats in the UK. Its network of 100 local bat groups and more than 1,000 bat workers survey roosts and hibernation sites, and work with householders, builders, farmers and foresters to protect bats. www.bats.org.uk
All British bats are protected under British law, because of severe declines in bat numbers during the twentieth century. Loss of roosting habitat to development and construction, loss of foraging habitat as farming practice has changed (using pesticide and losing meadows and hedgerows) and loss of hedgerows, waterways and commuting routes linking the two all contributed to the declines in bat populations.
Because of widespread population declines and continued vulnerability, all British bat species are European protected species and afforded a high level of protection under both the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Deliberately capturing, disturbing, injuring and killing bats is prohibited, as is damaging or destroying their breeding sites and roosts.
The Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228 is for anyone who needs help with bats If you find a grounded or injured bat, believes bats to be at risk or think you may have bats or want to let us know about a bat roost site please call the Bat Helpline 0345 1300 228
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