Open consultation on Aarhus implementation measures in Vienna
As last Austrian Province to implement the Aarhus Convention, Vienna has now presented an updated legislative draft. This initiative to amend the Nature Protection Act, the National Park Act, the Fishery Act and the Hunting Act grants environmental organizations the possibility to participate in NATURA 2000 impact assessments. In other cases, organisations receive the right to challenge decisions. Unfortunately, the consultation draft is restricted to EU law and several issues – such as access to justice against omissions or plans and programmes or a retrospective effect – are not addressed. Thus, further steps to fully implement the Convention are yet to be taken.
EU court ruling: Wolves are also protected when straying into human settlements
In its judgement of 11 June 2020 (C-88/19), the EU Court of Justice ruled on the territorial scope of the system of strict protection of certain animal species protected under Directive 92/43 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (in short: the Habitats Directive). Specifically, the Court made clear that protected species under the Habitats Directive such as wolves are also protected when they leave their natural habitat and stray into human settlements. The case concerned the capture and relocation of a wolf without prior authorisation, found in a Romanian village.