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Minister signals resolve to safeguard habitats under EU directive

Minister of State for Heritage Malcolm Noonan has said he is determined to address a persistent failure by Ireland to protect habitats under the European Union habitats directive.  It has resulted in the European Commission bringing the State to the European Court of Justice for failure to designate special areas of conservation (Sacs) since the directive came into force in 2014. The action initi...
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Ireland referred to EU Court of Justice over failure to designate Special Areas of Conservation

The European Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU over its failure to designate Special Areas of Conservation, more than five years after the deadline expired. Under the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC), Member States must designate Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), with specific conservation objectives and corresponding conservation measures to m...
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Dairy expansion putting pressure on marine life

The expansion of the Irish dairy herd is placing significant pressure on aquatic biodiversity, a conference on marine protected areas (MPA) heard today.  Speaking at the Bigger and Better MPA conference at Trinity College Dublin, Dr David Lyons of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) said that agricultural intensification is becoming a key stress on the marine en...
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UK ‘failing to protect wildlife habitats’, EU report

The UK is failing to meet its international obligations to protect its most important wildlife sites and vulnerable species, and now lags behind most other EU countries on key criteria, according to figures posted online by the European Environment Agency.  With the environment high on the agenda at the G7 summit in Biarritz this weekend, the data will be an embarrassment to ministers who have rep...
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The Buzz on Bees!

Bees are vital for stable, healthy food supplies. They are key to the varied, colourful and nutritious diets we need and have come to expect. Bees are perfectly adapted to pollinate, helping plants grow, breed and produce food. They do so by transferring pollen between flowering plants and so keep the cycle of life turning. The vast majority of plants we need for food rely on pollinat...
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Decline in wintering waterbird populations in Ireland – report

A new report from the Irish Wetland Bird Survey has found that the numbers of wintering waterbirds in Ireland are estimated to have declined by 15% in recent years. The report also details the many factors linked to these population declines, including climate change. The majority of waterbird species assessed by the survey are showing significant declines over the last five years, with some spec...
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Special costs rules governing environmental litigation under Planning & Development Act

Executive summary Heather Hill Management Company CLG and Gabriel McGoldrick (the Applicants) challenged a decision of An Bord Pleanala (the Board) to grant permission for a strategic housing development. The Applicants challenged that decision on a number of grounds and argued that the entire proceedings attracted the special costs rules governing environmental litigation under Section 50B of ...
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Conserving Europe’s Nature – The EU birds and habitats directives

Europe covers less than 5 % of the planet’s land mass. Yet, despite its small size, it has a stunning diversity of wild plants, animals and landscapes, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. Differences in climate, topography and geology account for much of this biodiversity. So does our long association with the land. Few places in the world have such a varied, contrasting and ...
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EU Commission calls on Ireland to finalise designation of conservation areas

The European Commission is urging Ireland to respect obligations under the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) for the protection of natural habitats and species included in the Natura 2000 network. Member States have to finalise the designation of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). They also have to establish, for these areas, the conservation priorities, objectives and measure...
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Mitigation and Compensatory Measures under Article 6 Habitats Directive

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently clarified the distinction between mitigation measures and compensatory measures under Article 6 of the Habitats Directive. This followed a preliminary request from Ireland’s Supreme Court during proceedings. What are the criteria? The reference concerned the interpretation of Article 6(3) and (4) of the Habitats Directive. Article 6(...
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