Press release: New report reveals Member States are responsible for the death of over 14 million birds

Press release: New report reveals Member States are responsible for the death of over 14 million birds

Today, BirdLife Europe released a new report which provides an in-depth analysis of derogations in eight EU Member States: Bulgaria, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Poland and Spain.

Derogations are exceptions to the law made to allow for special circumstances, which, when in place, remove the protections all European birds enjoy under the EU Birds Directive.

This means they effectively allow people to get rid of birds, their eggs or their nests in theoretically very specific situations, such as to proceed with construction work.

Normally, such derogations are only granted when all other non-lethal alternatives to protect the birds have been tried and failed.

With 18 derogations alone each resulting in the death of more than 100,000 birds, sadly these numbers are likely to be a gross underestimation of the real scale of the problem.

BirdLife has uncovered persistent problems and inconsistencies with reporting, including with Member States sending no or incomplete reports to the European Commission on their derogation activities.

The lack of accurate reporting renders enforcement of these critical laws little more than a joke.

84 000 derogations granted between 2009 – 2017 push vulnerable bird species to the brink.

Barbara Herrero: EU Nature Policy Officer, BirdLife Europe:

By abusing their power to grant licenses to kill birds, Member States are violating EU law, attacking biodiversity, abandoning animal welfare and turning their back on the science clearly showing why birds must be protected at all times.

This cavalier approach to documentation makes a mockery of the rule of law. The EU has put the laws to protect nature in place, but it must enforce them if it wants to reverse this catastrophic trend.

This article was first published by BirdLife International on 10 November 2020. Lead Image: © BirdLife Europe and Central Asia / Colum Clarke.

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