The UK government is to face action by the European court of justice for failing to provide safe habitats for harbour porpoises.
The European commission decision comes just days after the announcement that a new conservation area has been set up by the Scottish government to help protect the harbour porpoise off its western coastline.
However, this new site, and one other established in Ireland, are not enough. Under EU law, the UK should have drawn up a list of conservation areas for porpoises. WDC has been campaigning for more sites for porpoises for a number of years because, along with a fall in breeding levels due to chemical pollution in the sea, they face additional threats such as being caught in fishing nets and from noise created by underwater pile driving activities. High levels of noise can force porpoises away from important feeding and breeding areas, and can also cause injury.
Earlier in the year we asked the public to express their opinion on plans by the governments in England, Wales, N Ireland and Scotland to create six special areas in the UK where the harbour porpoise could be protected from dangers like fishing nets and pollution.
Nearly 9,000 of you responded to our campaign, and the announcement by the Scottish government to create a site around the inner Hebrides was warmly welcomed. However, despite pressure from WDC, and plenty of warning from the EU commission, no further sites have been created in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As a result, the UK government now faces heavy fines.