Senate approves Natura areas

The Senate has approved a draft amendment to the nature and landscape protection bill which provides for the creation of some 40 European Natura-type protected areas. The amendment, which the Czech Republic has been asked to pass by the European Union before its accession on May 1, provides mainly for the declaration of "bird reserves" where the protection of endangered bird species would be ensured. The opposition Civic Democrats are opposed to the amendment saying that it restricts the rights of land owners. The Natura 2000 project aims to create a continuous European environmental system of specially protected areas with endangered species of birds and protected animals, plants and habitats.