Reporting Requirements under the Nature Directives
As part of our work for the UK Government we co-ordinate the
production of periodic reports to be submitted to the European
Commission to show progress towards meeting the objectives of the
Birds and Habitats Directives. We also represent the UK in
discussions on how to improve the reporting frameworks for both
Directives through the work of the Expert Group on Reporting under
these two ‘Nature’ Directives.
The most important reason for periodic reporting is to assess
how the implementation of the Directives affects species and
habitats. The UK considers that reporting should focus on outcomes
and be used as part of a feedback loop in to management of our
natural resources – the results of reports should help policy
makers and site managers evaluate whether current action and
regulatory processes need to be changed or not.
Reporting obligations under the Habitats
Directive are set out in Article 17. Every six years each
Member State must report on measures taken and their outcome in
terms of the conservation status of species and habitats listed on
the Directive’s Annexes. Member States have completed two reporting
rounds for the Habitats Directive, covering the periods 1994-2000 and 2001-2006. The third Report, covering the period
2007-2012, is currently under preparation. The intention is to
include a public consultation early in 2013, in advance of
submission to the European Commission in June 2013.
The first Habitats Directive report concentrated on the process
of designating Special
Areas of Conservation. The second report included
assessments of conservation status of each of the habitats and
species listed on the Annexes of the Directive.
The framework for assessing conservation status was developed in
advance of the second report. It consists of four parts that mirror
the definition of favourable conservation status in the Directive
(Article 1e and 1i). Separate assessments are required for each
biogeographic region in which a species or habitat exists in a
Member State’s territory. The third report - covering 2007-2012 –
is due in June 2013. Member States will need to report on the
conservation status of species and habitats again, plus provide
information on conservation measures taken by Member States.
For the Birds Directive, Article 12 until recently
required reports on implementation, article by article, every three
years. The reporting cycles of the two Directives were not
synchronised and it was difficult to get an overview of Natura 2000
in the broad sense. The European Commission plans to change
the timing of Birds Directive reports so that they match those of
the Habitats Directive more closely, being due every six years with
the focus to be on population and distribution changes. The first
report using the new format is due in December 2013.
Last updated: 13 September 2011