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EU: Commission Notice Published on Energy Transmission Infrastructure and EU Nature Legislation

The European Commission has published a notice that relates to energy transmission infrastructure and nature legislation. It is a holistic address of the interlinking nature of this infrastructure and how it impacts nature within the EU, as well as how legislation can play a substantial role in this environment. The EU is committed to ensuring safe, sustainable and affordable energy supply whilst reducing CO2 emissions. Projects must meet the environmental obligations, including fully compliance with the EU’s environmental policy, including the Habitats and Birds Directives. Plans and projects likely to have a significant negative effect on a Natura 2000 sites must undergo an appropriate assessment before authorisation. Such projects must also meet the requirements for protection of species beyond such sites. The document has the intention to be used by project developers, transmission system operators (TSOs) and authorities responsible for the permitting of energy transmission plans and projects. Furthermore, site managers, NGOs and other stakeholders will also find of the document of use, providing overview of the implications of energy infrastructure proposals on Natura 2000 sites, EU protected species, habitats and best practice approaches to mitigating any negative effects. The document is made up 8 chapters, including:
  • Chapters 1 and 2: Provides an overview of EU policies regarding energy infrastructure and how this can have an impact on Natura 2000 sites and other protected species
  • Chapter 3: Assesses the different types of potential impacts that transmission infrastructure can have on habitat types and species protected by EU nature Directives
  • Chapter 4 and 5: Identifies mitigation measures that can be implemented during various stages of the plan and project cycles, including technical recommendations for remedial measures
  • Chapter 6: Outlines the benefits for taking more strategic and integrated approaches to planning such projects, minimising conflicts with the EU nature legislation, whilst providing an overview of how impact assessments can streamline projects
  • Chapter 7: Describes the permitting procedure under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, providing practical advice on how to apply this permitting procedure in the context of energy transmission infrastructure
  • Chapter 8: Looks at specific projects within the marine environment, including oil and gas, tidal, wind and wave infrastructure, providing best practices that can be used
The notice was published in the Official Journal of the European Union, dated 18th June 2018. Source: Commission notice: ‘Energy transmission infrastructure and EU nature legislation’, OJEU C 213 of 18 June 2018

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