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 maintain or restore a favourable conservation status of the species and habitats present. These steps need to be carried out within six years from the inclusion of these sites in the EU list as Sites of Community Importance (SCI).
In the case of Ireland, 154 SCIs (out of 423) have not yet been designated as SACs in the Atlantic biogeographical region, although the relevant deadline expired in December 2014. Site-specific conservation objectives have not been established for 87 sites, and the necessary conservation measures have not been established at any of the 423 sites. As the Irish authorities did not sufficiently address these concerns following a reasoned opinion, the Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Source – European Commission
Related Blog – EU Commission calls on Ireland to finalise designation of conservation areas
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.