• Nature Conservation
  • Rural Development
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Release of new Nature Compatibility Study

What is at issue?

The sensitive interplay of the EU legal framework and the national and individual case-specific flexibility sometimes poses a great challenge to expert contribution in impact assessments. How much leeway is there actually in the impact assessment and what framework conditions exist due to the requirements of the Natura 2000 network? How is it guaranteed in a nature impact assessment procedure that not only the preservation but also the development of the Natura 2000 network progresses positively? How must the assessment of the effects of a project on the protected goods and conservation objectives of a site and on the site as such be argued so that it is coherent and complete and complies with the requirements of EU law?

What is the benefit?

The assessment of impacts on Natura 2000 sites and protected goods under EU law is regulated by the Habitats Directive and interpreted by ECJ rulings and practical guidance documents of the European Commission. Nevertheless, there are still many "gray areas" for both expert consultants and experts regarding criteria or relevance thresholds for the impairment of a Natura 2000 site. This study now concretizes the technical and legal framework of the nature impact assessment. According to Art. 6 para. 3 of the Habitats Directive, the core element of the assessment is the conservation objectives of the protected area. It provides guidance on how the conservation objectives of a site can be derived from the respective conservation status of the protected objects and assessed, and under which conditions positive and negative effects of a project on the protected area can be balanced in the course of a procedure.

Pictures from the project


What do we do?

Wolfgang Suske was the project manager of this study. suske consulting published the study. Suske worked together with the experts Thomas Ellmauer and Werner Holzinger, as well as with numerous other experts from the field of technical and legal nature conservation.
The study was released in the context of a symposium on 27th September in the Europahaus in Vienna.

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