Irish Policy

National Biodiversity Plan

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which Ireland ratified in 1996, countries undertake to draw up Biodiversity Plans outlining their policies to protect biodiversity. Ireland’s first National Biodiversity Plan was published in 2002. The overall objective of the plan was to secure the conservation, including where possible the enhancement, and sustainable use of biological diversity in Ireland. 

An Interim Review of the National Biodiversity Plan was published in 2005 outlining the level of progress we have made in implementing the 91 actions of the National Biodiversity Plan and identified the areas where further efforts are required. In 2010, the EPA published the Biodiversity Action Plan. The Action Plan is part of its strategy 2020 Vision - Protecting and Improving Ireland's Environment.

An example of how it is implemented on a local level is the way the Dublin City Council has adopted and implemented its own Dublin City Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2017. This action plan has identified many areas of high biodiversity interest and features including rivers, hedgerows, ponds and small woods.

National Biodiversity Action Plan 2017-2021’, Ireland’s 3nd National Biodiversity Plan builds upon the achievements of the first and second plans. The Plan outlines actions through which a range of government, civil and private sectors will undertake to achieve Ireland’s ‘Vision for Biodiversity’

National Hertiage Areas (NHA)

These areas are considered important to protect because of the habitats, plants and animals present. To date, 75 raised bogs - mainly in the midlands - have been given legal protection, covering some 23,000 hectares. A further 73 blanket bogs, covering 37,000 ha, mostly in western areas, are also designated as NHAs. There are 630 proposed NHAs (pNHAs), which were published on a non-statutory basis in 1995, but have not since been statutorily proposed or designated. See the national heritage areas here

Wildlife Act

Nature conservation is controlled in Ireland under the Wildlife Act, 1976, as it gives the Government power to afford protection to all wild species of fauna and flora. Currently, all bird species, 22 other animal species or groups of species and 86 species of flora are afforded protected status. It was amended in 2000 with some if its objectives including:

  • Regulating the times to cut hedgerows;
  • Strengthening the protective regime for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs);
  • Giving statutory protection to NHAs;
  • Introducing new measures to help conserve wildlife species and their habitats.

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