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Formal warnings over the environmental impact of intensive farming practices

News Section Icon Published 26/07/2019

Yesterday (25 July), the European Commission issued warnings against four EU countries over violations of EU directives concerning intensive farming practices. We welcome these warnings. Not only do they expose the poor implementation of EU directives, but they also reflect the role of intensive and unsustainable agricultural practices in the rapid decline of wildlife habitats, biodiversity and the state of ecosystems.

You Have Been Warned

Germany, France, Spain and Slovenia received these formal warnings for violating EU directives regarding birds, habitats and the use of nitrates, all of which are linked to intensive farming systems and practices.

More specifically, the Commission called on Germany to comply with last year’s EU ruling which found the country in violation of the EU directive for limiting nitrate pollution in water systems. They also rebuked the country for failing to prevent further deterioration of bee and other pollinator habitats, largely caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.

France and Spain were targeted for failing to conserve turtle dove populations, which have massively decreased due to the steep decline of their habitats, while Slovenia was sharply criticised for its unsustainable agricultural practices that have led to major declines of grassland bird and butterfly populations. Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia also received warnings regarding their violations of nature protection laws.

The Protection of Nature

These warnings are groundbreaking as they cite the role unsustainable agricultural practices play in the unprecedented decline of biodiversity and ecosystems and the extinction of species. In addition, they constitute a clear signal to countries that push for weakened environmental policies in Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Olga Kikou, our Head of EU Policy says: “The impact that intensive farming practices have on the environment and biodiversity is often not taken seriously enough by some national governments. Without legal action from the EU, the protection of nature does not stand a chance”.

Discover more about the impact unsustainable agriculture has on our food system.