The Habitats Directive is the cornerstone of EU nature conservation law charged with both the conservation and restoration of a wide degree of heathlands. However, heathlands in western-Europe are on a steady decline with grim prospects for the future, which can be contributed to the combined effect of nitrogen deposition and climate change. In turn, this article researches the capacity of the Habitats Directive to regulate aforementioned threats. It finds that the Directive is not sufficient with regard to the reintroduction of keystone species, connectivity restoration, climate change adaptation and/or mitigation measures – due to a lack of specific restoration norms. This article also assesses whether a Restoration Directive can serve as a supplementary means of achieving restoration in European heathlands. From an academic perspective, this article contributes to the debate on the functioning of the Habitats Directive and EU environmental law. From a societal perspective, there is a significant concern regarding excessive nitrogen deposition in combination with climate change in various EU countries. Whilst this problem should be studied from a multitude of disciplines, effective legal norms geared towards restoration play a distinctive role in solving this complex puzzle.