This chapter aims to analyse the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, dating back to 1979 and 1992 respectively, from an evolving perspective, stressing their role in the protection of biodiversity in Europe. In the first part of the chapter, we will argue that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has played an important role in defining the balance between the feasibility of ‘human’ projects and the compelling need to protect habitats and species. The Court has developed a restrictive interpretation of the directives’ provisions, introducing derogations to the system of protection, and by virtue of its jurisprudence, it has stimulated the action of national legislators and judges in favour of biodiversity. In the second part of the chapter, we will analyse the transposition of both directives into the Italian legal system. In particular, we will focus on a recent case examined by the ECJ related to projects likely to affect protected habitats, and on an infringement procedure started against Italy concerning hunting. We will conclude that the balance between the protection of biodiversity and human activities refers to the interplay – not the opposition – between anthropocentrism and non-anthropocentrism; this balance needs to be achieved by judges on a case-by-case basis, in light of the principles of proportionality and precaution.

Protecting Biodiversity in Europe: The Habitats and Birds Directives and Their Application in Italy in an Evolving Perspective

DE VIDO, Sara
2016

Abstract

This chapter aims to analyse the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, dating back to 1979 and 1992 respectively, from an evolving perspective, stressing their role in the protection of biodiversity in Europe. In the first part of the chapter, we will argue that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has played an important role in defining the balance between the feasibility of ‘human’ projects and the compelling need to protect habitats and species. The Court has developed a restrictive interpretation of the directives’ provisions, introducing derogations to the system of protection, and by virtue of its jurisprudence, it has stimulated the action of national legislators and judges in favour of biodiversity. In the second part of the chapter, we will analyse the transposition of both directives into the Italian legal system. In particular, we will focus on a recent case examined by the ECJ related to projects likely to affect protected habitats, and on an infringement procedure started against Italy concerning hunting. We will conclude that the balance between the protection of biodiversity and human activities refers to the interplay – not the opposition – between anthropocentrism and non-anthropocentrism; this balance needs to be achieved by judges on a case-by-case basis, in light of the principles of proportionality and precaution.
Contemporary Issues in Environmental Law - The EU and Japan
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3666536
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