Natura 2000 is the centrepiece of EU nature and biodiversity policy. It is an EU-wide ecological network of nearly 26000 sites in the 27 EU countries, established under the 1992 Habitats Directive and covering almost 18% of the EU’s land area. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species, habitats and ecosystems, which, in addition to their intrinsic values, offer a wide range of social and economic benefits to society.
These guidelines show how the needs of extractive industry can be met while avoiding adverse effects on wildlife and nature. They examine how the potential impacts of extraction activities on nature and biodiversity can be minimised or avoided altogether. They highlight the importance of strategic planning, the appropriate assessment of new developments, and the need for adequate mitigation measures. The guidelines contain many examples of best practice, and show how some extraction projects can ultimately be beneficial to biodiversity by providing highly quality ecological niches.