Sites of Community Importance

It is the obligation of each EU Member State to set up the Natura 2000 network in its territory. Member State proposals are assessed in respect to adequate quality and quantity of proposed Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) by the European Commission during biogeographic seminars. Subsequently, the National Lists of EU Member States are transposed into the list of Sites of Community Importance.

The biogeographic seminar for the Pannonian Region was held in 2005; it assessed the adequacy of the Czech, Slovak and Hungarian National Lists. Based on the EC requirements, the Czech Republic added 17 new SCIs and modified 18 existing SCIs (due to additions of subjects of conservation, modifications of the SCI area and/or proposed categories of specially protected areas in which the SCIs will be declared). The total number of SCI in the Czech National List thus increased from 863 to 879 SCIs. The alteration of the National List was reflected in the Government Order no. 301/2007 Coll. (effective as of 1 December 2007), amending the Government Order no. 132/2005 Coll., defining the National List of SCIs.

The biogeographic seminar for the Continental Region was held in 2006. Based on the EC requirements, the Czech Republic added 233 new SCIs, significantly enlarged 28 SCIs, modified 170 existing SCIs (due to additions of subjects of conservation, modifications of the SCI area and/or proposed categories of specially protected areas in which the SCIs will be declared) and excluded 21 SCIs which were not adopted by the Commission. The alteration of the National List was reflected in the Government Order no. 371/2009 Coll. (effective as of 3 November 2009), amending the Government Order no. 132/2005 Coll. The number of SCIs in the Czech Republic thus increased to 1082.

The List of Sites of Community Importance was updated by the European Commission decision on 13 November 2007; it includes the Czech SCIs for the Pannonian and Continental biogeographic regions. This decision was the official approval of the majority of the SCIs included in the Government Order no. 132/2005 Coll. by the EC.

The first updated list of Sites of Community Importance for the Pannonian biogeographical region was adopted by the European Commission decision on 12 December 2008. This decision was the official approval of the updated National List of the SCIs included in the Government Order amendment no. 301/2007 Coll. by the EC.

The fourth updated list of Sites of Community Importance for the Continental biogeographical region was adopted by the European Commission decision on 10 January 2011. This decision was the official approval of the updated National List of the SCIs included in the Government Order amendment no. 371/2009 Coll. by the EC.

The statutory time limit to ensure the protection of a Site of Community Importance pursuant to the Articles 4(4) and 6(1) of Directive 92/43/EEC commences at the time when the SCI is added for the first time to the list of SCIs for the relevant biogeographical region.

The SCIs adopted to the European list shall be designated as special area of conservation by:
a) Contractual protection
  • Pursuant to the provision of section 39 of Act no. 114/1992 Coll., on Nature and Landscape Protection as amended, protection of SCI is ensured preferentially in cooperation with the owners of the land. Instead of proclamation of a national nature reserve, national natural monument, nature reserve or natural monument, including their buffer zones, it shall be possible to proclaim the area a protected area, if they are not already protected pursuant to the Act on Nature and Landscape Protection, on the basis of a written contract concluded between the owner of the concerned land and the competent nature protection authority.
  • The contract must contain in particular:
    - specification of the conditions of the protection of the area to be protected;
    - the method of management of the protected area.
b) Specially protected areas
  • The SCIs or their parts may be proclaimed specially protected areas.
  • If specially protected area regime is necessary for maintaining favourable status of the subject of protection of a Site of European Importance, the Government shall set out, through a Government Order, categories of specially protected areas in which they shall be proclaimed.
c) Basic protection pursuant to the provision of section 45c of Act no. 114/1992 Coll., on Nature and Landscape Protection.
  • The SCIs shall be protected from damage.
  • They shall be used only in a manner that does not cause significant or irreversible damage or destruction of European habitats or habitats of species of European importance requiring territorial protection, forming their subject of protection, and that does not impair their integrity.

In order to maintain or improve the preserved status of the subject of protection in the SCIs, the Ministry of the Environment shall ensure preparation of the sets of recommended measures for the special areas of conservation.