Cyprus Mail

EC warns Cyprus over impact of development in Natura 2000 sites

The habitat of birds and other animals must be protected (Albert Stoecker)

The European Commission has sent a formal notice to Cyprus for failing to follow assessment procedures when it comes to plans for Natura 2000, it was reported on Friday.

“The Commission is sending a letter of formal notice to Cyprus as it considers that it has generally and persistently, since the date of accession to the EU, failed to ensure that its authorities subject plans or projects to appropriate assessment of their implications on the Natura 2000 sites and/or that it has agreed to plans or projects without having ascertained that they will not adversely affect the integrity of the Natura 2000 site concerned,” it said.

The letter is part of the Habitats Directive which aims at contributing towards ensuring biodiversity through the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora in the EU.

According to this Directive, plans and projects not directly connected with or necessary to the management of a Natura 2000 site need to undergo an appropriate assessment of their implications, both their individual implications and also in combination with other plans or projects, for the site at stake unless member states are certain, following a screening of the project, that the project will not have significant impacts on the Natura 2000 site.

Cyprus has been given two months to comply. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to send a reasoned opinion.

In 2018, Cyprus received two letters of formal notice from the EU Commission over its failure to ensure adequate protection for indigenous habitats and species, as well as not transposing to EU directives protecting members of the public from radiation.

Last week the bidding process for Pafos-Polis Chrysochou motorway closed despite efforts by BirdLife and the Green Party to stop its construction.

According to BirdLife, the construction will impede partly on a Natura 2000 zone and will affect a number of bird species with the loss of a significant habitat.


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