Legal experts in environmental matters

Natura 2000

Nature knows no national borders, therefore efforts of one country to protect biodiversity may be futile, if the neighbouring country does not follow suit. Based on these simple truths, European Union has created a network of protected areas (sites) to protect and improve the status of valuable species and habitats. This network is known as the Natura 2000 network.

To ensure the functioning and preservation of the network the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has demanded that member states follow strict criteria when assessing impacts of projects and plans on Natura 2000 sites and when approving such projects or plans. For example, the activities that may have negative impacts on the integrity of sites can only be approved if there is no scientific doubt that such impacts are avoided. Unfortunately, the case-law of ECJ is not always followed in Estonia and not enough attention is paid to the impacts of projects and plans to the Natura 2000 sites.

EELC aims to change the current practice of impact assessment and authorisation of activities in Estonia in a way that follows the criteria and rules set by the ECJ and ensures effective protection of Natura 2000 sites. Mostly we do this by strategic litigation.

If you want a better insight into our advocacy goals, activities or successes then write us an e-mail at or give us a call at +372 742 4524.