The Salzburg Regional Administrative Court revokes the permit to shoot a wolf
The court confirms the strict European protection status of wolves and grants an appeal against the shooting decision, stating that the decision of the district authority St. Johann/ Pongau has procedural as well as substantive deficiencies:
From a procedural point of view, the exemption permit should have been granted to the applicant - i.e. agricultural community - instead the permit was granted to the authorized hunters. In terms of content the court elaborates that at the time of the decision (December 2020) there is no longer any "serious damage" (e.g. to livestock) that could be prevented. In fact, the wolf has not appeared in the respective area for several months. The European law prescribes the use of alternative means such as herd protection or dissuasive measures, before a wolf is allowed to be killed. Exceptions are only permitted if there is no other satisfactory solution. However, the original shooting decision fails to provide substantial evidence why an alternative to killing the animal is not feasible. Furthermore, it cannot be ruled out that another wolf will be removed in the event of a lethal removal. The court also repeats that Art 16 FFH-Directive is to be interpreted restrictively and that the authority has to prove that the requirements for granting an exemption are met.
Aarhus Committee demands legal protection against state aid decisions related to the environment
Environmental organisations must have the possibility to appeal against decisions of the European Commission on state aid which are related to the environment, the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee (ACCC) states in a recently published draft decision. This decision will also influence the ongoing review of the Aarhus Regulation ((EC) No 1367/2006) and may be of interest with regard to national procedures in this area.