Article 6(2)

3. Article 6(2)
Clarif‌ication of the concepts of taking appropriate avoidance
steps; deterioration; and disturbance
.. T
‘Member States shall take appropriate steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the
deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species as well as disturbance of the species for
which the areas have been designated, in so far as such disturbance could be signif‌icant in relation to
the objectives of this Directive.
.. S
The article takes as its starting point the prevention principle: ‘Member States shall take appropriate
steps to avoid, in the special areas of conservation, the deterioration... as well as disturbances... ‘.
These measures go beyond the management measures needed for conservation purposes, since these
arealreadycoveredbyArticle6(1).Thewords‘avoid’ and ‘could be signif‌icant’ stress the anticipatory
nature of the measures to be taken. It is not acceptable to wait until deterioration or disturbances occur
before taking measures (case C-418/04 – see also under section 4.4.1 the interpretation of ‘likely to’
This article should be interpreted as requiring Member States to take all the appropriate actions to
ensure that no deterioration or signif‌icant disturbance occurs. It requires both human-caused and any
predictable natural deterioration of natural habitats and the habitats of species to be avoided.
projects. It also applies to the performance of all ongoing activities, like agriculture, f‌ishing or water
management,thatmaynotfallwithinthescopeofArticle6(3)30, along with plans and projects which
have already been authorised in the past and subsequently prove likely to give rise to deterioration
or disturbances31. It can also apply to the implementation of plans or projects which were authorized
Applies permanently in SACs, SCIs and SPAs. It may concern past, present or future activities
or events. If an already existing activity in a SAC or SPA is likely to cause deterioration of natural
habitats or disturbance of species for which the area has been designated, it must be covered by
theappropriatemeasuresforeseeninArticle6(2)oftheHabitatsDirectiveorAr ticle4(4)ofthe
30 See also section 4.4.1 of this document on term ‘project’.

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