Projects in Natura 2000 sites were not always eligible for BEERECL financing.
What is Natura 2000?
In May 1992 European Union governments adopted legislation designed to protect the most seriously threatened habitats and species across Europe. This legislation is called the Habitats Directive and complements the Birds Directive adopted in 1979. The Birds Directive requires the establishment of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds. SPAs help protect and manage areas that are important for rare and vulnerable birds because they use them for breeding, feeding, wintering or migration. The Habitats Directive similarly requires Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to be designated for other species, and for habitats. SACs provide rare and vulnerable animals, plants and habitats with increased protection and management. Together, SPAs and SACs make up the Natura 2000 series.
How are onsite activities affected by a Natura 2000 designation?
Sometimes certain activities have to be restricted or stopped where they are a significant threat to the species or habitat types for which the site is being designated as a Natura 2000 site. These are always addressed on a case-by-case basis. Keeping species and habitats in good condition is not necessarily incompatible with human activities, in fact many areas are dependent upon certain human activities for their management and survival, such as agriculture. Planning and communication with all authorities, local stakeholders, NGOs, etc. is essential to insure that all Natura 2000 issues are identified and addressed prior to any potential expenditure.
How do I find out if my project location is a Natura 2000 site?
Each Member State must compile a list of the best wildlife areas containing the habitats and species listed in the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive. The lists are then submitted to the European Commission for approval. For both types of sites it is the task of the Member State to put the necessary protection provisions/designations in place. Bulgaria is in the process of doing this. Visit www.natura.org for more information about the Natura 2000 series.