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Thomson Ecology HandbookNational wildlife law | Northern 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 3D: Statutory Wildlife Law:  Northern Ireland

Legislation Description
Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, (Amendment) 1995
Provides for the protection of birds, certain other animals and wild plants. Includes various offences, such as intentional killing, injury, and destruction of place of shelter. Amendments to the 1985 order are made with respect to birds, enabling licences to be granted for killing wild birds and animals whilst increasing protection for birds more generally.
Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 Provides the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland with the power to acquire land for the purpose of designating national parks, nature reserves and previously Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 Now the legislation under which Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) are designated.
Wildlife and Natural Environment (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 Introduces new statutory duties upon government departments and public bodies to take action to further the conservation of biodiversity. Sections 4 to 28 of the Act relate to amendments to the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. Sections 29 to 34 relate to amendments to the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002.  
Wildlife and Natural Environment (Northern Ireland) Act 2011  Introduces new statutory duties upon government departments and public bodies to take action to further the conservation of biodiversity. Sections 4 to 28 of the Act relate to amendments to the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. Sections 29 to 34 relate to amendments to the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002.  
The Conservation (Habitats &c.) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended)   Transpose the Habitats Directive in relation to Northern Ireland. Provide for the protection of sites in the UK that support habitats and species in need of conservation across Europe and full protection of species of European importance whether occurring within designated sites or not.As these Regulations have been amended several times, it is likely that a consolidated version ‘The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015’ will reach the statute book in the near future.
The Forestry Act (Northern Ireland) 2010
Ensures sustainable forest management; disturbance to wildlife is avoided; and sets out a requirement for a public consultation period for tree felling licence applications. The Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the local planning authority are designated statutory consultees.  
The Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999
Promotes the conservation of water resources and cleanliness of water in waterways and underground strata in Northern Ireland. Through this Act, the Department of the Environment is granted the power to control or prohibit both the discharge of surface water and the abstraction of water.  
The Water Abstraction and Impoundment (Licensing) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 Regulations made under the provision of the powers granted by the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999. Provide further protection to Northern Ireland’s water resources and regulate the application and granting of licences for abstraction and impoundment purposes.
The Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 Transpose into law the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), requiring the management of water quality on a river basin scale. Four River Basin Districts (RBDs) were identified for this purpose. Three are shared with Ireland and one is wholly within Northern Ireland.
Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009  Extend the protection provided to species and habitats under various other pieces of legislation and include habitats and species not only within, but beyond designated areas. Also provide further legislation to prevent damage and contamination to water resources and land areas which present a threat to human health.
Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Amendment) Regulations 2011  Create a new marine planning system covering social and economic needs as well as nature conservation. Among other things, the Act establishes the Marine Management Organisation and enables the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geomorphology and geology. The Act places a duty on all public authorities to protect MCZs and enables the Marine Management Organisation to create byelaws for the specific purpose of protecting an MCZ. In 2011, a new licensing regime was introduced to the Act to further regulate development in the marine environment.
Marine Act (Northern Ireland)
2013
 
Provides for marine plans in relation to the Northern Ireland inshore region; provides for marine conservation zones in that region; makes further provisions in relation to marine licensing for certain electricity works in that region, and for connected purposes.

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