In many parts of the world, port development and economic activities regularly come into conflict with the desire to conserve valuable habitats. Europe is no different and in many cases this has led to wide-ranging European Union legislation to protect and conserve fauna, in particular birds, flora and certain habitats. A difficult situation arises when a port authority, trying to plan ahead, purchases land for future expansion. This land may not be used immediately and therefore lies fallow allowing habitats to evolve. These habitats are then, sometimes unbeknownst to the port authority, classified as "special area of conservation" and the port is not allowed to use the land for economic and commercial expansion, as was its original intention. Starting in 1979, EU habitats legislation expanded considerably, but not necessarily with clarity. After more than 25 years of evolving legislation, which includes designating certain sites as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and others as Special Areas of Conservation or SACs, the European Dredging Association (EuDA) Environmental Committee has made an evaluation of the impact these directives are having on port expansion, including several important case studies. In particular Article 6 of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 may 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats Directive) and its impacts are examined.