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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 measures to maintain or restore the species and habitats present in these areas to a favourable condition.  These steps need to be carried out within a six-year deadline which, in the case of Ireland, expired on 12 December 2014. Thus, 255 areas out of 423 have not yet been designated.

Site-specific conservation objectives have not been established for 198 sites, and the necessary conservation measures have not been established for any site. In particular, the necessary conservation measures have not been established for the priority habitat types ‘Coastal Lagoons’ at 25 sites and ‘Blanket Bog’ at 50 sites, as well as for the species ‘Freshwater Pearl Mussel’ at 19 sites.  The Commission is, therefore, sending an additional reasoned opinion.

Ireland has now two months to reply to the concerns raised by the Commission. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Source – European Commission

Verde Environmental Consultants are highly experienced and are qualified to carry out Appropriate Assessments. We have completed Appropriate Assessments and Natura Impact Statements (NIS) for numerous projects in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments across Ireland.

Appropriate Assessment is an ecological assessment focused on how a plan or project may impact Natura 2000 sites. It is a requirement under Article 6(3) of the EU Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC).

Natura 2000 sites are ecologically protected sites, designated under the Habitats Directive (Special Areas of Conservation) and Birds Directive (Special Protection Areas). Any plan or project which has the potential to impact designated Natura 2000 sites must be screened for Appropriate Assessment and there are four stages.

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