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Bird Protection Legislation

Republic of Ireland

Bird protection legislation: As birds are particularly susceptible to disturbance during their breeding season, bird protection legislation includes the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000).

The conservation of birds and their habitats in Ireland has been expanded by EU law, most notably by the EU Birds Directive and  EU Habitats Directive, which provide bird protection legislation.

Hen-Harrier-Survey Shellduck-Ecofact Buzzard

Species listed in Annex I and migratory species are subject to special conservation measures to protect their habitat, through the establishment of Special Protection Areas (SPAs), under Directive 2009/147/EC on the Conservation of Wild Birds (the Wild Birds Directive 1979). In 1997, the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora) was transposed into Irish national law with the European Union (Natural Habitats) Regulations, SI 94/199. These Regulations have since been amended by SI 233/1998 & SI 378/2005. The European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 consolidate the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 to 2005 and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats)(Control of Recreational Activities) Regulations 2010.

Further information on EU Nature and bird protection legislation can be found here.


Northern Ireland

Bird protection legislation: In the UK, all wild birds, their nests and their eggs are protected by law. In Northern Ireland, the relevant bird protection legislation is The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.

Greenshank-Ecofact robin Whoopers on field

The Conservation (Natural Habitats and Habitats of Species) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) provide for the designation, protection and management of ‘European Sites’, the protection of ‘European Protected Species’ and the adaptation of planning and other controls for the protection of European Sites. European Sites are Special Areas of Conservation listed under the EC Habitats Directive and Special Protected Areas classified under the EC Birds Directive, and are the basis for national bird protection legislation.

The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 provides the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland with the power to declare areas of land as Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 provides the Department of Environment for Northern Ireland with the power to acquire land for the purpose of managing it as a nature reserve.

For further information on wildlife and bird protection legislation legislation in the UK (inc. Northern Ireland) please click here.

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