Conservation - Spain

A group of Spanish property owners and business operators ended up in the European Court of Justice as they attempted to challenge conservation efforts.

The group brought actions in the ECJ challenging a decision of the European Commission to approve a list of sites of Community importance for the Mediterranean biographical region, pursuant to the Habitats Directive 92/43/EC, which encompassed their land and businesses.

The property owners and business operators argued that inclusion of their property and businesses within a site of Community importance would restrict their property rights and business activities.

Rejecting their applications the Court held that as their property and businesses were not directly affected by the Commission's decision their challenge was inadmissible.

The Court held that inclusion of their property and businesses within a site of Community importance did not affect the Spanish Government's margin of discretion under EU law to protect such sites of Community importance designated under the Habitats Directive.

The Orders of the ECJ in case T-322/06 can be found here, in case T-323/06 can be found here, in case T-345/06 can be found here, and in case T-366/06 can be found here.

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