The most important legislation underpinning biodiversity and nature conservation in Ireland is the Wildlife Act, 1976 the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000 and the European Union (Natural Habitats) Regulations, SI 94/1997, which have been amended twice with SI 233/1998 & SI 378/2005. The 1997 Regulations and their amendments were subsequently revised and consolidated in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.

The Wildlife Act, 1976 provided a good legislative base for nature conservation. The species protection provisions, including those regulating hunting, are quite comprehensive, to the extent, for example, that they largely foresaw similar aspects of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. However, the habitat/site protection measures in the 1976 Act were relatively weak, and were almost completely limited to measures which could be introduced in agreement with landowners. There was very limited power to ensure protection, even in the case of outstanding habitats or sites, where agreement of landowners was not forthcoming.

Nature conservation legislation was substantially enlarged and improved by the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000 and the Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations.

Public Consultation Process on Burning and Hedgecutting Controls

The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys, T.D., is inviting submissions from stakeholders, interested parties and the general public on the issue of a review of existing burning and hedgecutting controls. The closing date for submissions is Friday 9th January 2015.

The Minister has published the consultation document Review of Section 40 of the Wildlife Act - Burning/Cutting Controls. The main purposes of Section 40 are to protect bird life during the nesting season, to prevent forest fires, and to protect vegetation and wildlife habitats during the months of growth and reproduction. The Minister is seeking the views of the public and interested parties with a view to ensuring the on-going effectiveness of the controls.

This consultation process allows members of the public and interested stakeholders to make their views known on any potential changes.

The consultation document can be found downloaded here.

Submissions should be made by the closing date to:

Review of Section 40,
Department of Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, 
First Floor,
7 Ely Place,
Dublin 2 
Or by email to nature.conservation@ahg.gov.ie