Key European ruling on nature conservation and development

Current Government advice to local planning authorities on developments which may affect wildlife sites will need to be revised in the light of a recent decision by the European Court of Justice.

Commission v Federal Republic of Germany (Case 57/89, 28 February 1991, The Times, 21 March) is the first time the Court has interpreted key provisions of the 1979 Directive on the conservation of wild birds. Although the full judgement has yet to be translated from the French original, the Court has gone some way to clarify the legal status of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) declared under the Directive, and its ruling has significant imp

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