North Sea Natura 2000

The North Sea Natura 2000 project is managed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the North Sea Foundation (Stichting de Noordzee) and Imares.

What is Natura 2000?

Natura 2000 is the name of a European network of nature reserves in which, from a European perspective, important flora and fauna are located. With Natura 2000, we want to protect these flora and fauna in the long term.

Why Natura 2000?

Biodiversity (the diversity of species) in Europe has been declining rapidly over the past years. The sustainable protection of flora and fauna is urgently necessary. Plants and animals are not bothered about national borders and it is therefore important to tackle nature protection in a pan-European context.  In that way, we ensure that nature in Europe and in the Netherlands does not become more and more uniform.

What is the Netherlands doing?

To begin with, the Netherlands has designated a total of 162 areas for the Dutch part of the Natura 2000 network. Meanwhile, four areas on the North Sea have been added.

How does the process look?

The Netherlands registers an area with the EU, which then adds the relevant area to a list of areas to be protected. Then, in a designation decree, the area is designated as a Natura 2000 area by the State Secretary of Economic Affairs.

After the area has been definitively designated, the competent authority in the relevant area must draw up a management plan in cooperation with all parties concerned in and around the area.

This procedure is laid down in the 1998 Nature Protection Act. This Act firmly establishes Natura 2000 in Dutch legislation.

Natura 2000 on the North Sea

For the five areas on the North Sea, the rest of the procedure depends on the moment when the EU places the areas on the official European list of areas to be protected.