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European Commission v Spain.
European Union
Type of document
International court
Date of text
May 20, 2010
Data source
Court name
European Court of Justice
Seat of court
Bonichot, J.C.
Bay Larsen (Rapporteur), L.
Schiemann, K.
Reference number
[2010] EUECJ C-308/08

<p>The Commission brought proceedings against Spain arising out of the upgrading of a road that ran along the edge of (and partly through) the Doñana natural park. At the time of the road project the park had been proposed, but not yet adopted, as a site of community importance (SCI) under Article 2(1) of the Habitats Directive. The area through which the road runs is habitat for the Iberian lynx, a ‘priority species’ listed in Annex II to the Habitats Directive and also listed in Annex IV(a), thus requiring a system for monitoring its ‘incidental capture and killing’ and consequential measures under Article 12(4) The Commission complained of two breaches of the Habitats Directive. The first consisted of authorising an intervention (ie the upgrading of the road) of a kind which would seriously endanger the ecological characteristics of the site owing to (i) fragmentation of the habitat, making dispersal difficult; and (ii) the risk of road kill (contrary to Article 6, which lays down protection arrangements required for SCIs). This complaint was rejected, essentially on a failure of the evidence to establish any significant deterioration of the habitat or disturbance of the lynx as a result of the upgrading. The second complaint alleged a failure to establish a sufficient system of monitoring on the road concerned. This, too, failed on the facts, as a suitable system was found to have been adopted and that the requirements of Article 12(4) were being met.</p>