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Parliamentary questions
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15 June 2018
Question for written answer E-003262-18
to the Commission
Rule 130
Sirpa Pietikäinen (PPE)

 Subject:  Compliance with obligations under the Birds Directive as regards felling operations in commercial forests during bird nesting seasons
 Answer in writing 

As laid down in Article 5 of Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds (the ‘Birds Directive’), Member States must take measures to prohibit deliberate disturbance of birds, particularly at breeding and rearing time, in so far as such disturbance would be significant having regard to the objectives of the directive.

By virtue of an interpretation adopted in Finland, the Nature Conservation Act, the law transposing the Birds Directive, imposes no restrictions on summer felling in commercial forests during the bird-nesting season. That view is set out in, among other places, a memo by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MMM 2000:8 , p. 24). The interpretation proceeds from the premiss that felling operations do not constitute deliberate disturbance of birds.

What deliberate disturbance amounts to in substantive terms has been spelled out in the Commission’s 2007 ‘Guidance document on the strict protection of animal species of Community interest under the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC’. The concept has also been clarified in the EU Court ruling in Case C-103/00 (Commission v Greece, paragraphs 34-36). Deliberate disturbance is taken to mean the same thing in the Birds Directive as it does in the Habitats Directive.

It is clear that the obligations under the Birds Directive regarding deliberate disturbance of birds have not been properly enforced in Finland, nor is compliance being monitored effectively, given that the Finnish authorities do not equate commercial forest felling during the bird-nesting season with deliberate disturbance of birds.

Does the Commission consider the interpretation of the Finnish authorities, namely that felling operations in commercial forests during the bird nesting season do not constitute deliberate disturbance as referred to in Article 5 of the Birds Directive, to be in accordance with that directive?

Has Finland correctly transposed the Birds Directive and are the authorities monitoring compliance with its obligations in an effective way, given that nothing is done to prevent birds from being disturbed while they are nesting?

Original language of question: FI 
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