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Thomson Ecology HandbookNational wildlife law | Ireland

TEH Index

Part 1: Legal frameworks

Part 2: Planning policy and other guidance

Part 3: Development and features of biodiversity importance

Part 4: Surveys and assessment

Part 5: Mitigation and enhancement

Part 6: Practical techniques

Table 3E: Statutory Wildlife Law: Ireland

Legislation Description
Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended
 
The principal national legislation for the protection of wildlife and the control of activities that may adversely affect wildlife. Also seeks to conserve a representative sample of important ecosystems and regulate game resources. It makes licences mandatory for certain activities which may interfere with ecosystems and regulates the possession, trade and movement of wildlife. Areas of importance for wildlife may be protected under the Act, either as Nature Reserves, Refuges for Fauna, or by way of management agreements.
Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000, 2010, 2012
Main objectives designate and give protection to Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs), and improve the conservation of wildlife and their habitats while ensuring Ireland’s compliance with international biodiversity agreements. Broadened the scope of previous Wildlife Act to include hitherto omitted species. Legislates for fines and punishments and allows for the imposition of prison sentences in certain circumstances.
Flora (Protection) Order, 1999
This is the most up to date legislation regarding protected plant species in Ireland. The order makes it illegal to cut, damage, or uproot protected species or to interfere with their habitats and seeds.
Environmental Protection Agency Acts, 1992 and 2003
The 1992 act placed greater protection on the environment and established the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 2003 act transposed into law EU Directive 96/61/EC concerning pollution prevention and control. This amended the 1992 act and updated all existing Irish waste and litter pollution legislation.
The waste water discharge (Authorisation) (Amendment) Regulations, 2010
Transposed into Irish law the EU directive 2006/11/EC and made it a legal requirement to obtain a licence from the EPA when discharging waste water from works.
Forestry Acts, 1946 to 2009
 
Describe and formalise the processes of acquisition, management and exploitation of forestry in Ireland and is controlled by the country’s state forestry body: Coillte.
European Communities (Water policy) Regulations, 2003, (amendment) 2005, 2008 and 2010
Transpose into law the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), requiring the management of water quality on a river basin scale. Eight River Basin Districts (RBDs) identified for this purpose. Three are shared with Northern Ireland, four wholly within the Republic, and one wholly within Northern Ireland.

European Communities (Marine Strategy) Framework Regulations, 2011
Instrument which transposes into law the Marine Strategies Framework Directive. This is the European wide initiative to protect and preserve the marine ecosystems of all member states and achieve Good Environmental Standards (GES) in the marine environment by 2020.
European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations, 2011.
A collection of regulations which consolidates all previous acts relating to the EU Habitats Directive and the EU Birds Directive. The Habitats Directive is the main piece of EU legislation governing the protection and conservation of habitats and organisms (excluding birds) deemed to be threatened and of EU wide importance. It establishes SACs or Special Areas of Conservation where habitats and/or wildlife present are deemed to be ecologically valuable. The EU Birds Directive conserves wild bird populations in Europe by protecting not only the birds but also by their habitats through the creation of Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Forestry Act 2014
The Forestry Act 2014 is the primary legislation for forestry in Ireland. Amongst other matters, it enables the issuing of preservation orders and re-planting orders. The Act repeals the Forestry Act 1946.

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