I reported earlier on Kokott AG’s view in Cascina tre Pini re the declassification of sites under the habitat Directive. The Court agreed, albeit with emphasis on the more than just passing degradation of the site: ‘It must, however, be pointed out that a mere allegation of environmental degradation of an SCI, made by the owner of land included in that site, cannot suffice of itself to bring about such an adaptation of the list of SCIs. It is essential that that degradation should make the site irretrievably unsuitable to ensure the conservation of natural habitats and of the wild fauna and flora or the setting up of the Natura 2000 network, so that that site can definitively no longer contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the directive set out in Articles 2 and 3 thereof.‘ (at 30). ‘Thus, not all degradation of a site on the list of SCIs justifies its declassification.‘ (at 31)
The judgment makes common sense to owners (and in view of the right to property), as it emphasises authorities’ duties under the habitats Directive however it is good to read it in ECJ print.