Minister reduces Natura 2000 protected list, softens regulations

Junior environment minister Hans Bleker is removing several names from the 166 Dutch sites earmarked as special nature areas in the European Union’s Natura 2000 scheme.

Removal from the list means the areas no longer enjoy such strong protection against development.
In a statement, Bleker said the sites removed from the list had little ecological interest.
Other areas are being merged, which means targets can be reached without affecting the local agricultural industry.
‘I want to get away from the enormous list of permits which face employers working close to Natura 2000 areas,’ he said in a statement. ‘I expect we can reduce the permit requirements by 20%.’
The minister has also abandoned plans to flood a couple of areas in Zuid-Holland province in line with Natura 2000 requirements.

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