European Commission has agreed with Czech non-governmental organizations

9.8.2011 - PRAGUE

The government of the Czech Republic should quickly complete a national list of localities with European significance in the network Natura 2000. European Commission asked the Czech Republic for the more consistent protecting of 27 sorts of natural areas and of 10 sorts of significant species.

Therefore, non-governmental organizations that are united in the Coalition for Natura 2000 ask the minister of environment, Tomáš Chalupa, for the arrangement of immediate protection of these natural phenomenons. If he will fall behind with it, some unique till now not damaged natural parts can irretrievably disappear.

European Commission has agreed with Czech non-governmental organizations. It has officially confirmed an imperfection by the proposals of European significant localities (1). Vlastimil Karlík from Arnika said (2): „Apart from several partial replenishments, the most important imperfection is that two of European significant localities - Labské údolí a Slavíkovy ostrovy – were not declared". But the Commission gives no deadline for replenishment. It recommends only that mentioned localities should be protected as soon as possible. Vlastimil Karlík is afraid: „Minister Tomáš Chalupa should not hesitate with the preparation of documents and he should give them quickly to be approved by government. In other case, the ‚concrete lobby' might be quicker and there will stay nothing to be protect."

Both above mentioned localities were not recommended by previous government of Mirek Topolánek as European important localities. The reason was neither lack of expert data nor impaired nature in the locality. But an intention for the building has been there. The locality Labské údolí has been intentionally reduced because of the planned building of lock chamber by Děčín. And Slavíkovy ostrovy are located in the place of sailing channel by Přelouč. Ing. Jana Vitnerová, leader of the program Protection of nature in the association Arnika, says: „A nature protection has to be declared on the basis of the biological knowledge not on the basis of an economic intentions of developers. Czech Republic has jointed international agreements and it should not ignore them (3) ."

Non-governmental organizations associated in Coalition for Natura 2000 have done an analysis of the revised national list of European important localities. On the basis of this analysis, they get to the conclusion that requirements to replenish the list were not fulfilled sufficiently and that during the replenishment, the rules were violated. Therefore, specialists and non-profit organizations have sent a complaint to the European Commission in May 2010. This complaint has concerned an insufficiency of the national list of the locations protected in the nest Natura 2000 (4). On the basis of this complaint, the European Commission has started with solving of this problem. Jana Vitnerová says: „Many specialists from non-governmental organizations freely associated in Coalition for Natura have then cooperated and they have evolved very detailed documents. We are happy that their work was not useless and that a majority of argument was accepted as the legitimate ones. The commission has supported the proposals of the non-governmental organizations in absolute majority of all important events".

The Czech Republic has to declare new localities (or to extend the existing ones) for 18 sorts natural stands. Further, it has to add 7 natural phenomenons amongst protected subjects in the already existing areas. More research has to be done for 10 localities and sorts because of the lack of documents.

So called bio-geographic seminar took place in Průhonice this year in March. The goal of these two days talks between Czech Republic and European Commission was an examination whether the expert criteria for particular sorts and localities are fulfilled. It has been also reviewed whether a given phenomenon (sort, biotope) is protected sufficiently in the given area. Besides of representatives of non-governmental organizations, Ministry of environment Czech Republic and Agency for nature and land protection, further participants were representatives of the European Commission, European thematic centre (it is an expert workplace that prepares expert documents concerning Natura 2000), an independent expert from academic sphere and deputy of European association of soil owner (5).

Information for editors:

(1) Answer from Brussels, 15. 6. 2011

Odpověď Evropské komise - naturové lokality

(2) Labe valley

Labe river bed on its lower reaches between Ústí nad Labem and boundary line. The locality has been intentionally reduced because of planned lock chamber Děčín. This reduction means an insufficient protection of six sorts of natural locations and two sorts of animals – beaver and salmon. Besides of beaver and salmon, lot of another unique natural societies lives in the Labe valley. Some of them already disappears elsewhere in Europe. Here, the gravel deposits are the most precious biotopes. They have been created on the alternately flooded and uncovered areas of bank where the water flows more slowly. Unusual types of bryophytes and minute plants together with rare sorts of insect as ground beetles live here. Previously, the gravel deposits existed commonly on Vltava and lower Labe. They disappeared together with the building of penstocks. Now, several last hectares of these exceptional biotopes exist on the lower Labe.

Slavíkovy ostrovy

It is a unique area by Přelouč where over 70 protected sorts of plants and animals exist. The most precious are important populaces of copper butterfly (two sorts). In spite of it, the locality was not added on the list because of the intended building of the lock chamber and channel. As well in this case, Commission has found an insufficient protection of these species. By declaration, the mentioned imperfections have been removed.

On the case Slavíkovy ostrovy, mainly association Děti Země is being focused. 

(3) Declaration of European important localities is given by strict rules. According to international agreements, these rules are valid also for the Czech Republic, e.g. Directive of Council 92/43/EHS, concerning a protection of natural localities, free-ranging animals and wild plants.

(4) The table with results of the bio-geographic seminar

Table – summary of the localities


About Natura 2000

The system Natura 2000 is a system of localities in European union (birds locations and European important localities) where precious and endangered plants and animals are protected . The Czech republic has submitted the national list of European important localities in 2009 for the second time. Regardless, the list has had similar imperfections – some important localities were missing.

Czech republic has replenished the national list of significant localities in Europe (EVL) in October 2009 on the basis of the comments of the European Commission . Currently, 1 082 EVL is now in the national list. Total area of these localities is 778 174 ha, that is 9,87 % of surface of the Czech Republic.

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