Many of our most special wild places are protected by European legislation.

Posted on 13th June 2016

Here are just a few examples and stories of wildlife and wild places that have benefited from this extra layer of environmental protection.

Jeremy - My Regeneration (2)

30 years ago, if Jeremy had fallen in the river then he’d have been more worried about being poisoned than drowned! A 1980s trawl survey found just one fish in the Billingham reach of the Tees, and that was a diseased flounder. Things didn’t start improving until an EU directive about pollution control in urban waste water was implemented in the UK. Jeremy can now watch cormorants and seals feeding on salmon and sea trout in this stretch of the river.

EU legislation has made sure we cleaned up our rivers, making them healthier for wildlife and people.

Paul - My Bigger Picture(1)

Acclaimed underwater photographer Paul Naylor has been diving and capturing images of life in the waters around the British coast for years, with over 2,000 dives to his name. He knows the impact that marine pollution, such as raw sewage, can have on our fragile sealife. He’s also seen how diverse and spectacular underwater wild places can be when they’re allowed to recover and flourish. The wildlife that calls this place home may look tropical, but it can be found right here in Britain and for Paul and his family, there’s nowhere they would rather be.

EU legislation has made sure we cleaned up our seas, making them healthier for wildlife and people.

Lucy - My Spa Day

For Lucy, the wind and salty spray of the Atlantic Ocean is more relaxing than any spa treatment and being surrounded by amazing wildlife, like Common Dolphins, Minke Whales and Harbour Porpoise makes it even more magical. 28 miles off the Cornish mainland, the Isles of Scilly are in fact a SPA. The islands are designated as a Special Protection Area due to their international importance for breeding seabirds. This gives Lucy greater confidence these beautiful islands will be protected.

The EU has protected 275 Special Protection Areas for birds in the UK.

John - My World(1)

John has worked in fisheries management for over 25 years. He has seen our waterways at their best – and their worst. He knows firsthand how devastating unhealthy rivers can be for wildlife and for the people like anglers who enjoy them every day. With the added protection of European legislation, like the Water Framework Directive, The River Frome in Dorset is on the road to recovery. For John, this is now one the most idyllic places in the world and to be able to live and work in this thriving wild place is a dream come true.

EU legislation has made sure we cleaned up our rivers, making them healthier for wildlife and people.

Discover what the EU has done for wildlife