The Environmental Court ruled on Oct 19 that the boulders placed by Greenpeace does not require a license, because there is no risk to harm the environment. The ruling also states that the measure will have positive effects for fisheries as well.
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The decision of the Halland County Administrative Board concerning Greenpeace notification of intent to carefully place trawling obstacles in Fladen and Lilla MiddelgrundJune 3, 2009
The County Administrative Board’s Decision:
The County Administrative Board assesses that the measures presented will not affect the environment in the Natura 2000-areas, in a significant way. Therefore permission is not required in accordance with ch. 7 § 28a of the Environmental Code.
The County Administrative Board recommends that permission is applied for in accordance with ch. 11 of the Environmental Code, for those measures that will be taken within Swedish territory. The County Administrative Board recommends that there is consultation with professional fishermen who have the right to fish in the areas in question. It should therefore rest upon Greenpeace to state which legal grounds there are in taking measures with the purpose of hindering the fishing industry.
If the measures are taken, the County Administrative Board, with the support of ch. 26 §§ 21 and 22 of the Environmental Code, will order Greenpeace to, no later than one month after the measures are taken, report to the County Administrative Board how and where the measures were carried out. Stated in the account shall be the point in time, co-ordinates and the quantity of stone blocks placed.
The County Administrative Board reiterates that this decision does not release the organiser from the obligation to adhere to what is prescribed in another statute or what is covered by the rights of others.
This decision can be appealed in the Environmental Court, Vänersborg’s District Court, see appendix 1.
Stockholm May 8 2009
To the Halland County Administrative Board
Att: AnnaKarin Sandholm
301 86 HALMSTAD
Greenpeace submission re: the national authorities’ formal responses in case no 511-3917-09
Sweden is obliged to maintain or restore the favorable conservation status of the Natura 2000 sites Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund and all other Natura 2000 sites. The government has so far remained passive despite the fact that the deadline for establishing a fully implemented protection regime expires in December next year and Sweden will at that point violate EU legislation. Greenpeace is therefore considering filing a formal complaint to the European Commission to explore if infringement procedures should be pursued in the Court of Justice if adequate protection is not implemented in time.
Sweden must now start to live up to its responsibility and establish legal protection for Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund, since it is not Greenpeace responsibility to carry out the work of the authorities. The Swedish government claims that protecting the marine environment is a priority which may be questioned when not even the EU’s minimum requirements of measures in marine Natura 2000 sites are met. In the case of marine areas with fishing restrictions, Sweden is still decades behind countries such as Egypt, Venezuela and Indonesia. The government should immediately conduct a national work plan of the marine Natura 2000 sites in order to submit a single application to the EU-Commission requesting fisheries restrictions in Natura 2000 sites. Restrictions need to be introduced in order to achieve favorable conservation status for habitats and species in marine Natura 2000 sites.
Yesterday the County Administrative Board in Halland that Greenpeace planned conservation measure does not need permission. In the decision the authority judges that the announced measures do not affect the environment in the Natura 2000 sites in a significant way. Therefore permission according to the Habitats Directive art 6.3.
The County Administrative Board concludes that there are no legal obstacles for Greenpeace to carry out the conservation measure. Thereby the County Administrative Board agrees with Greenpeace that the conservation measure is indeed a conservation measure, which means the measure is positive for the environment since it prevents destructive bottom trawling. This is a great victory for the environment. However, it is also a scandal that authorities do not live up to their responsibilites in adequately protecting the Natura 2000 sites and regulating fisheries. The authorities cannot always rely on Greenpeace to do their job.
Translation of the County Administrative Board’s decision:
The Decision of the Halland County Administrative Board no 511-3917-09
The County Administrative Board judges that the announced measures do not affect the environment in the Natura 2000 sites in a significant way. Therefore permission according to chapter 7 paragraph 28 a Environmental Code* is not needed.
The County Administrative Board recommends that permission according to chapter 11 of the Environmental Code should be sought for the part of the measure which is inside the territorial waters.
The County Administrative Board recommends Greenpeace to consult with the fishermen holding rights to fish in the sites. Greenpeace should be obliged to refer to the legal grounds on which the measure will be taken.
If the measures are carried out, the County Administrative Board obliges Greenpeace, according to the Environmental Code chapter 26 paragraphs 21 and 22, to carefully account to the County Administrative Board exactly how and when the measures are implemented. The account must have times of placement, geographical coordinates and amount of placed boulders.
The County Administrative Board reminds that this decision does not free the applicant of the right to fulfil what is covered in other legislations or what follows from the rights of others.
This decision can be appealed to the Environmental Court, the district court of Vänersborg, see attachment no 1.
* Swedish national legislation corresponding to the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEG article 6.3.
With reference to a report by Greenpeace to the county administrative board concerning the aim to place stone blocks at the Natura 2000 areas Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund.
The county administrative board has received remarks and comments concerning a proposal circulated for consideration about the case. These are hereby transmitted (see attachments) for your information and comments. Any remarks has do be presented to the county administrative board the 8 May 2009 at the latest (correct?).
Comments are sent to:
Länstyrelsen I Hallands län
301 86 HALMSTAD
is best done by e-mail to
Please state diary number 511-3917-09
19 mars 2009 Greenpeace applied for depth facts about Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund from the military authorities. The following inquiry of a detailed depth fact about Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund has been sent to the military authorities that at this moment are dealing with our request.
If you know other ways to get hold of the information, you are very welcome to contact us since this information is most relevant to be able to continue our work!
Answer to request concerning delivery of detailed depth facts in the areas Fladen and Lilla MiddelgrundApril 29, 2009
The military authorities have on the request concerning depth facts in Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund made by Greenpeace answered as follows:
Depth facts about the two areas in question (Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund) belongs to the Swedish Maritime Administration. The military authorities are therefore not able to assist with the requested information. Demand has to be sent to the Swedish Maritime Administration.
The military authorities take the chance to inform that if Greenpeace has the intention to accomplish a hydrographical survey, it is necessary to have a permission. I attach a document with information about permission in connection with hydrographical survey.
Tel: 08- 788 9406
Today Greenpeace presented a legal assessment to the county administrative board in Halland which supports the statement that it is not necessary to ask for a permission to place stones in Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund.
Article in Yrkesfiskarna 3, 2009
During an open discussion meeting in Varberg where Greenpeace presented plans for placement of granite blocks as trawl obstacles on two shallow banks in Kattegatt, it appeared that there are no large disagreements among different interest groups. The question is concerning the two areas of Fladen and Lilla Middelgrund. Each of them have special natural values, and therefore have been designated as Natura 2000 areas.
When a Natura 2000 areas is submitted, and is accepted by the EU, a member state has 6 years to provide protection that would guarantee a “favorable protected status”. 5 years have now gone for Fladen and Lilla Midelgrunden, and nothing has been done – thus Greenpeace plans for action.
During an open meeting in Varberg, where commercial fishermen, anglers, county authorities and others were invited, Staffan Danielsson from Greenpeace presented the reasoning done by the environmental organization.