On 20 November 2020, Dutch Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Rob Rooken of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission.
MEP Rooken asked the Commission “what hexagonal grid calculation method does the Commission recommend and can it justify its preference?” and “does it consider it desirable for Member States use calculation methods that are, according to experts, demonstrably inappropriate?”
“If a Member State nevertheless uses a calculation method that the Commission does not endorse”, MEP Rooken enquired “does it consider that the results are adequately substantiated in scientific terms?”
On 16 December, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, responded on behalf of the European Commission and reported that “the Commission has no preference concerning the use of hexagonal grid calculations for the purpose of the Habitats Directive” and “they are one option for data collection and treatment that Member States can rely upon”.
Commissioner Sinkevicius asserted that “as a general principle, all data-collection and treatment methods used for the purposes of the Habitats Directive should provide scientifically sound and robust results in order to serve the full implementation of the directive and the achievement of its goals” and “it is up to the Member State authorities to select and develop the methods necessary to fulfil these requirements”.
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