German government lays foundations for improved marine protection

Cabinet adopts amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act

Cabinet adopts amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act

The German government has laid the foundations for more comprehensive nature conservation in the North and Baltic Seas, and for the accelerated establishment of a network of terrestrial biotopes. The Cabinet adopted a corresponding amendment to the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG) today, as proposed by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks.

Minister Hendricks commented: "I want to strengthen nature conservation in the North and Baltic Seas. We not only have a responsibility to conserve species already protected at European level such as harbour porpoises, common seals and grey seals, but also to protect less well-known species like starry rays and ocean quahogs. Protecting these species will also contribute to significantly improving the overall environmental status of the North and Baltic Seas."

This amendment establishes a basis for authorisation in the Federal Nature Conservation Act for conserving these and other threatened species in marine areas in the German Exclusive Economic Zone by means of legal ordinances. A second focal area is the establishment of a nationwide network of terrestrial biotopes covering ten percent of each Federal State (Land). The draft act requires the Länder to set up this biotope network by 2027. Such a network is essential for many animal species. The networking and opening of migration corridors facilitate the genetic diversity of species that is so crucial to their survival.

A third focal area is the inclusion of caves and semi-natural tunnels in former mines in the list of protected biotopes, for example to preserve the habitats of bats, spiders, butterflies and other insects. Regarding species protection law, the draft act prescribes the adaptation of provisions on authorising road construction projects and planning construction areas and installations in the energy sector to rulings by the supreme courts. This does not change the legal situation, but it does create greater clarity for environmental authorities and planners.

08.02.2017 | Press release No. 050/17 | Marine Water Management