Planning Portal

PPS 2: Planning and Nature Conservation
Statutory Framework: Legislation

14. The Government attaches considerable importance to the duties placed on it by the various international Treaties, Conventions and Directives described in detail in Annex 1. These international obligations underlie much of Northern Ireland's legislative framework for nature conservation. Of particular importance are:
  1. The Amenity Lands Act (Northern Ireland) 1965 which was largely repealed by the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985, except for the provisions relating to Areas of Scientific Interest (ASIs), many of which have been re-categorised on declaration as ASSIs;
  2. The Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (as amended 1989) which places particular emphasis on the establishment of a network of Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs), National Nature Reserves (NNRs), Nature Reserves (NRs) and Marine Nature Reserves (MNRs). These include areas important for their geology and land forms as well as for their wildlife;
  3. The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (the "Wildlife Order") which allows for the establishment of Wildlife Refuges (akin to nature Reserves) for the special protection of certain species of rare plants or animals. It also prohibits the intentional killing, taking or injuring of certain wild birds or wild animals or the intentional destruction, uprooting or picking of certain wild plants;
  4. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (the "Habitats Regulations"). These regulations give effect to the 1979 EC Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the "Habitats Directive"). These Directives provide for the classification and designation of Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation.
15. Responsibility for the designation of these sites lies with the Department's Environment and Heritage Service Opens link in a new browser window. The Department will seek to ensure that, as far as possible and consistent with the objectives of each designation, this network of sites is protected from damage or destruction.
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