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Habitats Directive

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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Bird and Butterfly populations show downward trend

Trends in bird and butterfly populations can be excellent indicators for the health of the environment.  Alarmingly, both of them show significant downward trends, with no signs of recovery. Key messages Monitoring schemes show significant long-term (25-year) downward trends in common birds (in particular farmland birds) and grassland butterfly population numbers, with no signs of recover...
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Biodiversity map shows growing EU water stress

New analysis from the European Environment Agency shows that, with average temperatures rising, water scarcity is increasing across the EU. It affected a fifth of Europe’s population and a third of its land area in 2015. The report finds that changes to arably farmed land are leading to a continuing decline in bird populations but that forest ecosystems are improving. Marine fish stocks continu...
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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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Mitigation Measures in Appropriate Assessment

On 8 February 2019 the High Court delivered a helpful judgment in relation to mitigation measures in screening for Appropriate Assessment.  Eoin Kelly v. An Bord Pleanála [2019] IEHC 84 (‘Eoin Kelly’) The Eoin Kelly judgment would appear to be the first Irish judgement to apply the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) in People Over Wind and Sweetman v. Coillte Teoran...
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Dublin mountain visitor centre on hold over environmental assessments

Plans for a new visitor centre in the Dublin Mountains have been put on hold due to concerns from the planning authority over the adequacy of the project’s environmental assessments. An Bord Pleanála is now seeking further information from the project’s lead architect Paul Keogh on the plans for the centre which will include a 75-seater cafe, an exhibition facility and a walkers’ lounge.  The p...
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National designated protected areas in Europe increasing – 160k (ha) in Ireland

In 2017, nationally designated protected areas covered almost 26% of land area & inland waters across 39 European countries. With more than 100.000 sites, though often small/fragmented, Europe has more protected areas than any other region. A 'nationally designated protected area' is an area designated by a national designation instrument, based on national legislation. If a country has inc...
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Managing Natura 2000 sites – provisions of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC

At sea or on land, healthy ecosystems can help mitigate Climate Change impacts. In Europe, the Natura 2000 sites are key in this role, when properly implemented. Article 6 is one of the most important articles in the Habitats Directive as it defines how Natura 2000 sites are managed and protected. Article 6 For special areas of conservation, Member States shall establish the necessary c...
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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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