Portugal told to do more to protect habitats

Portugal has been hauled over the coals for failing to adequately protect its flora and fauna when building a motorway through an environmentally sensitive area.

Commission v Portugal

Conservation of Habitats

A judgement of the ECJ has held that Portugal has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 6(4) of Directive 92/43/EC on the conservation of natural habitats and wild flora and fauna (as amended by Directive 97/62/EC). The Court held that Portugal, in implementing a project for a motorway, the route of which crosses the Castro Verde special protection area, notwithstanding the negative Environmental Impact Assessment and without having demonstrated the absence of alternative solutions for the route concerned, had failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 6(4).

The Environmental Impact Assessment demonstrated that the route would have a significant negative impact on seventeen species of wild birds listed on Annex I to Directive 79/409 and their habitats. The Court held that the fact that after completion the project may not have produced the anticipated negative effects is immaterial, since it is at the time of adoption of the decision authorising implementation of the project that there must be no reasonable scientific doubt remaining as to the absence of adverse effects on the integrity of the site in question.

The full text of the judgement is available at the following link.

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