Court: Sale of Natura 2000 property unconstitutional
The Constitutional Court has ruled that the current regulation of the sale and utilisation of “Natura 2000” lands breaches the basic law.
Farmland classified as “Natura 2000” can be farmed only by observing specific environmental requirements to preserve wildlife in the area.
The government has sold large expanses of “Natura 2000” lands as part of a scheme to sell land to farmers. Lawmaker Benedek R Sallai of green LMP, along with 51 other opposition lawmakers, has asked the court to annul the relevant regulations to preserve wildlife.
In its ruling on Tuesday, the court established that the measures resulting in or risking the deterioration of the environment in these areas are unconstitutional even if legislation is unchanged. Current legislation does not guarantee the same level of protection for privately owned “Natura 2000” lands as it does to state-owned ones, it said.
The court said that parliament should regulate the sale and utilisation of Natura 2000 lands in line with the basic law until June 30, 2018.
The Constitutional Court on Tuesday also said that some rules governing National Land Fund assets breach Hungary’s fundamental law.
Gergely Gulyás, the group leader of ruling Fidesz, said that the party would respect the court’s decision. The court basically ruled against the opposition parties that seek the annulment of the law, Gulyás said, adding that the court ruled for guarantees to ensure that revenues from the sale of Natura 2000 lands remain with the National Land Fund in the long run.
LMP welcomed the ruling as a “positive step” from the point of view of nature protection, highlighting the part of the ruling which regulates the future sale and utilisation of Natura 2000 lands.