This is an example of how the European Union can affect cat ownership in the UK. We know how European Union regulations can invade all parts of our life here in the UK and many people don’t like it; this is another example.
There are two aspects of this. Firstly, everybody has heard about what most people consider to be too much immigration into the UK. This puts pressure on housing. Houses need to be built and sometimes the only place you can build houses is next to wildlife habitat which is protected, which is what happened in Hampshire on a part of Farnborough Airfield.
Five hundred houses were built on the site. Permission to build houses was granted by the local county council. In granting the right to developers to build houses they imposed a condition that homeowners could not keep cats or dogs.
That specific condition of owning a home on this development was forced upon the council by European Union. The condition for home ownership in this instance was imposed by the the European Habitats’ Directive which, as mentioned, projects special areas in respect of wildlife conservation.
In this instance the area of importance is the unspoiled heath, Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area, near to Farnborough airfield which is home to rare birds including the endangered ground nesting nightjar and warblers.
I’m very surprised that dogs were banned from this estate, and even cats, although cats have a very unfair reputation for being hunters of birds. Even the RSPB said they did not support the ban despite the area having an international reputation for wildlife habitat. It should be noted that dogs and cats are not specified in the EU directive, so that decision must have been made by the council in trying to comply with the directive.
The mistake was building houses alongside this special wildlife habitat. The RSPB said that it was the equivalent of putting up an apartment block next to a rainforest.
This housing estate should never have been built in the first place but due to pressure from immigration, I suspect, it had to be built in an unsuitable location, so you can see that it was a double whammy; both open EU borders creating housing pressure and then the EU creating restrictions on dog and cat ownership.
The difficulty will be in enforcing this ban because once houses are sold and new owners move in, these conditions (covenants) are likely to fade away due to a lack of enforcement.
The photo is by Roger H Goun on Flickr