During the period 2014-2017 there have been four projects running under Nature protection in permitting and inspection of industrial installations – implementation of Art. 6(3) of the Habitats Directive project series:
- Nature protection in permitting and inspection of industrial installations – implementation of Art. 6(3) of the Habitats Directive (2014-2015),
- Wind energy and Pig&Poultry farms and Natura 2000 (2015-2017),
- Non-energy extractive industry (quarries and open cast mining) and Natura 2000 (2016-2017),
- Inspection of quarries and open cast mining in Natura 2000 sites and planning tool for inspection of Natura 2000 sites (2017)
1. Nature protection in permitting and inspection of industrial installations – implementation of Art. 6(3) of the Habitats Directive (2014-2015)
In 2013 IMPEL carried out a small project “Nature protection in permitting and inspection” where the project team explored the needs and requirements concerning nature protection in permitting and inspection of industrial installations. The need for more information was confirmed. Therefore IMPEL launched a follow-up project in 2014 entitled “Nature protection in permitting and inspection of industrial installations Implementation of Art. 6(3) of the Habitats Directive”, in which nature authorities and permit and inspection authorities for industrial installations participated. The project collected information by using a questionnaire and carrying out a workshop. It was noted that the project could only give a general overview of the situation and collect information about some best practice examples. It is impossible to provide one set of guidance for all different species and particular targeted features.
The main findings of the project 2014 showed the need for:
- Improving knowledge about and use of EU guidance / awareness raising measures
- Sharing existing national guidance and scientific studies on different projects
- Exchange of knowledge about screening criteria and assessment methodologies (e.g. accepted practices like the use of Critical Loads (CL), criteria for habitat loss, new approaches for evaluation of hazards such as nitrogen-deposition)
- Targeted user-friendly sector specific guidance should be developed
- Follow-up projects should concentrate on small steps
Recommendations concerning permitting:
- Integration of information about screening and appropriate assessment (implementation and results) into the permitIntegration of conditions concerning Natura 2000 sites into permits
- Exchange of experience concerning dealing with activities without permits (e.g.below IED threshold farms)Definition of general requirements concerning permits for activities in / near protected areas taking into account Natura 2000 sites
2.Wind energy and Pig & Poultry farms and Natura 2000 (2015-2017)
This project concentrated on two seperate areas of work: (i) the EU guidance document ’Wind energy developments and Natura 2000‘ by considering the exchange of experience across member states and further aspects for consideration within the document, and (ii) the development of a sector specific guidance document on Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive in permitting of intensive pig and poultry farm projects.
’Updated wind energy development case studies‘ IMPEL report (2015/14-1 2017) provides some best practice examples of dealing with wind energy projects and Natura 2000. It also provides information about screening tools that are used in participating countries.
The IMPEL guidance document 2015/14-2 ’Pig and Poultry Farms and Natura 2000‘ provides advice to permit authorities, nature conservation authorities and all those involved in the Article 6 (3) procedure of the Habitats Directive on the permitting and inspection of this sector.
The document provides a brief overview of relevant EU legislation, considers sector specific aspects such as the definition of boundaries and thresholds for livestock projects, cumulative effects, and identifying threats, pressures and impacts of intensive farming projects on Natura 2000 sites. It examines differing methods for the assessment of nitrogen deposition as well as considering the information required to make a permit application, supported by examples of significant effect criteria and screening/ assessment tools. It also provides examples of permit conditions across various member states. The final chapter of the document considers inspection of pig and poultry farms and briefly touches on impacts to Natura 2000 sites. It is the project teams proposal to conisder in more detail, aspects of undertaking inspections with regard to Natura 2000 sites in future projects.
3. Non-energy extractive industry (quarries and open cast mining) and Natura 2000 (2016-2017)
Given that Europe’s manufacturing and construction industries are heavily dependent on the Non-Energy Extractive Industry (NEEI) for essential raw materials (including non-energy minerals – resources that are many times present on Natura 2000 sites), there is a need to ensure compatibility between extractive industry and the potential for effects on wildlife and nature.
This IMPEL project explored how European countries apply Article 6(3) to NEEI activities of quarries and open cast mining in practice. The project hopes to produce a final report, which shares and compares practices and experiences, defines common understandings, raises the competences of the experts involved and contributes towards further knowledge in this thematic area, namely permit writers and inspectors.
’Quarries and Open Cast Mining and Natura 2000‘ (IMPEL Document 2016/15, 2017) covers specific NEEI themes within European Union (EU), including: the potential impacts of NEEI on nature and wildlife, the importance of strategic planning and management plans, the criteria for assessment of significance used on screening and appropriate assessment of NEEI plans and projects in accordance with the Habitats Directive, permitting, monitoring, inspection and restoration/rehabilitation after exploration.
4. Inspection of quarries and open cast mining in Natura 2000 sites and Planning tool for inspection of Natura 2000 sites (2017)
In 2017 the IMPEL Nature Protection Expert Team continues to contribute to the Habitats Directive knowledge of IMPEL by sharing experiences between member states on the inspection of NEEI facilities within or close to, Natura 2000 sites. With such examples of best practice, the project group hopes to ensure proper implementation and enforcement of the nature directives and to promote nature conservation within sectors such as NEEI. In a second part of the 2017 project, the group will begin to develop a roadmap for the development of a planning tool for Natura 2000 sites. It is the wish of the group that further development of the planning tool will occur in future projects.
The 2017 project consisted of two parts:
- PART 1 – Inspection of quarries and open cast mining in Natura 2000 sites,
- PART 2 – Roadmap for a planning tool concerning inspection of Natura 2000 sites (including the option of using already existing IRAM-Tool).
‘Guidance for environmental, nature protection and land use inspections in or near Natura 2000 sites – quarries and open cast mining’ (IMPEL doc. 2017/19-1, 2017) aims to prepare basic policy for carrying out the inspection of NEEI instalations within or close to Natura 2000 sites. It shares best practices from across member countries and compares inspection procedures and competences of the inspection authorities.
‘Report on Roadmap for Planning Tool for inspection of Natura 2000 sites (IMPEL doc. 2017/19-2, 2017)‘‘ aims to develop a roadmap for a planning tool concerning inspection of nature protected sites, which might include the option of using already existing IMPEL IRAM- Tool.