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PPS 2: Planning and Nature Conservation
Annex 2: Statutory Site Designations - Nature Conservation and Planning Legislation in Northern Ireland

Site of International Importance

Site Designation and Explanation NI Statutory Designation
Ramsar Sites listed under the Convenience on Wetlands of International Importance (The Ramsar Convention) ASSI; MNR
Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified under the EC Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (The Birds Directive) ASSI; MNR; NR; SPA
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to be designated under the EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (The Habitats Directive) ASSI; MNR; SAC

Sites of National Importance

Site Designation and Explanation NI Statutory Designation
Nature Reserves and National Nature Reserves (NNRs and NRs) declared under Articles 16 and 18 respectively of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 NR; NNR
Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs) declared under Article 20 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985. MNR
Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs) declared under Article 24 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 ASSI
Areas of Scientific Interest (ASIs) declared under the Amenity Lands Act (NI) 1965 ASI

Sites of Local Importance

Site Designation and Explanation NI Statutory Designation
Wildlife Refuges (WRs) established under Article 16 of the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 WR
(Local) Nature Reserves (NRs) established by District Councils under Article 22 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (NI) Order 1985 NR

Nature Conservation and Planning Legislation in Northern Ireland

  • The Amenity Lands Act (Northern Ireland) 1965:- Introduced the concept of designating areas because of the importance of their flora, fauna, geological or physiographical or other features; very largely repealed by later Orders.
  • The Planning (Tree Preservation Order) Regulations 1973.
  • The Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985:- Makes provision with respect to nature conservation, enjoyment and conservation of the countryside, and amenity lands. Places particular emphasis on the establishment of a network of Areas of Special Scientific Interest and Nature Reserves.
  • The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985:- Provides for the protection of certain fauna and flora, for the creation of conserved sites for various species, especially birds.
  • The Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1989.
  • The Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.
  • The Planning (General Development) Order (Northern Ireland) 1993.
  • The Conservation (Natural Habitats Etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995:- Formally transpose the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive into law.
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