Natura 2000 sites and Ta Cenc

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Natura 2000 sites and Ta Cenc

Post by Lisa » Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:56 pm

It has been a long time since i posted...
Just wanted to update you on Natura 2000 process. Below is extract from Nature Truts's recent newsletter Il-Kampanja.
I would like to thank all those on the forum who sent me feedback re species.
Also, as i told stephen - the malta wild plants website was even quoted by the Commission when referring to flora records of sites in the Islands. Well done !

Latest update is that probably Ta Cenc will have to be included in the Natura 2000 list but I fear it will only be the cliff edge area and not, as we would like, the whole plateau and valleys.
From Il-Kampanja:
Update on Natura 2000 – Nature Trust (Malta) attends Biogeographical Seminar in Brussels
By Annalise Falzon

Annalise Falzon, Conservation Officer NTM, attended the Mediterranean Biogeographical Seminar for Cyprus and Malta held in Brussels in December 2006. The meeting was hosted by the Commission and supported by the European Environment Agency's Thematic Centre for Biological Diversity. Cyprus and Malta participated with representatives of the relevant authorities, NGOs and the European Habitats Forum. Nature Trust was supported by the Natura 2000 Coordinator of WWF.
The aim of the seminar was to have final discussions and clarifications on the Reference List for Annex I habitats and Annex II species of the Habitats Directive vis-à-vis the list of sites proposed by the Cypriot and Maltese authorities.

What is Natura 2000?
The Natura 2000 network is the Europe-wide ecological network of protected sites under the EU's Birds and Habitats Directives to safeguard Europe's most important wildlife areas and species. Member States are obliged to protect and draw up management plans for the selected sites.

Natura 2000 in Malta
Local relevant legislation can be viewed on namely Legal Notice 257 of 2003 and Government Notice 223 of 2005.

The Maltese draft final list contains:
31 Habitats (marine and terrestrial) – including PRIORITY habitats Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae), Coastal lagoons, Mediterranean Salt Steppes, Mediterranean Temporary Ponds, Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis, Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea, Tetraclinis articulata forests.
27 Species (Plants, mammals, reptiles, etc) including the Priority species Caretta caretta, Armadillidium ghardalamensis, Lampedusa melitensis, Cremnophyton lanfrancoi, Helichrysum melitense, Palaeocyanus crassifolius, Ophrys lunulata.
27 sites listed as Special Area of Conservation (SAC) covering 48.5 Km2 or about 13% of the land area and including one marine protected area. The full list and maps can be viewed on

Nature Trust Malta recommendations before/during the seminar
In 2004 Nature Trust had written to MEPA to ask why two very important sites in Gozo were left out of the original lists. No reply has been forthcoming yet. The sites in question were:
Ta’ Cenc cliffs
Qortin ta’ Isopu, Tal-Magun, Il-Kbir and associated valleys

In a revised list as discussed at the seminar in Brussels Nature Trust noted with satisfaction that the second site (Qortin tal-Magun u il-Kbir) has now been included as a Natura 2000 site. However Ta’ Cenc was not included.

During the seminar the main points raised by Nature Trust were:
Extend Xlendi SAC to include Ta Cenc plateau and cliffs and Mgarr ix-Xini valley – this point was raised repetitively due the serious omission as the site holds several Annex I Habitats and Annex II Species. The Xlendi SAC extent is clearly limited not by ecological factors but by the proposed touristic developments of the Ta Cenc site.
Marine sites need to be protected both for habitats and for species listed in the Habitats Directive.
Extend Dwejra Special Area of Conservation (SAC) on land towards San Dimitri cliffs, at sea to create a Marine Natura 2000 site
Extend Rdumijiet SAC to include Xaghra l-Hamra plateau
Extend Maghluq ta’ Marsaskala SAC to include Wied il-Baruni
Proposed new sites at: Wied Ghasel/ San Pawl tat-Targa
Extend Mizieb SAC to Gnien Ingraw
Proposed new site for bat populations
Proposed Cliffs/bays San Tumas/Munxar/Delimara

Outcome of the seminar

The Commission and the European Topic Centre were particularly interested in the omission of Ta’ Cenc and MEPA was thus asked to consider its inclusion.

Nature Trust Malta has sent in its written comments to the Commission and to MEPA as a follow-up, with particular reference to Ta’ Cenc and its importance for being included as a Special Area of Conservation without further delay.
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