Frequently Asked Questions

Natura 2000

Will people gain access rights to my lands if they are designated?

The general public will not acquire any additional access rights to designated lands. However, authorised staff of the NPWS have a legal right to enter onto these lands for monitoring purposes. Such staff will, of course, normally seek to contact landowners and land users in advance of any visit.

How will I know if my land is included in an NHA, SAC or SPA site?

All landowners and land users, with land included in a Natura site, known to the National Parks & Wildlife Service, will be formally notified in writing.  They will be provided with a map, or portion of the relevant map, of the particular site, a description of the site and a list of potentially harmful activities that should not be undertaken without prior consent of the Minister. 

Maps of the sites are displayed in local offices of NPWS, the Planning Offices of local authorities, Teagasc/AES offices, Garda Stations and offices of the Department of Social & Family Affairs. Maps are also available for consultation in County Libraries, or using the NPWS mapviewer tool.

If my land is included in an NHA, SAC or SPA will I have to change my farming practices?

Designation will have little impact on farmers using non-intensive farming practices. However, where current practices are damaging they will have to be modified. Any future change in farming practices will have to take account of the ecological requirements.

What is Natura 2000 & what is its legal basis?

Natura 2000 is a European network of important ecological sites. The EU Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) placed an obligation on Member States of the EU to establish the Natura 2000 network. The network is made up of Special Protection Areas (SPAs), established under the EU Birds Directive (79/409/EEC), and SACs, established under the Habitats Directive itself.  Ireland's contribution to Natura 2000 is being created under the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. 94 of 1997 as amended by S.I. 233 of 1998 and S.I. 378 of 2005). These regulations transpose the EU directives into Irish national Law.

What compensation am I entitled to if my land is included in an NHA, SAC or SPA?

There are two options in relation to compensation:

Option 1. - Joining the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS). Farmers with lands in an SAC who enter, or are already participating in REPS receive additional payments on top of the standard REPS payment rates.

Option 2. - Land-owners seeking compensation who do not join REPS will be required to manage their lands in accordance with a farm plan or management agreement drawn up by the NPWS. Where the operation of such a plan gives rise to income loss or extra costs, these will be compensated for by NPWS. In the event of a dispute, the amount of compensation offered may be appealed to an independent arbitrator.

If my land is included in an NHA, SAC or SPA will I be eligible to apply for development grants?

Yes, providing the project will not damage the environment and meets the other relevant grant conditions.

Are there implications for the afforestation programme?

The Department of Agriculture and Food administer this programme. NPWS advises the Forest Service of that Department in relation to the wildlife environmental conditions attaching to the grant scheme. All applications meeting the grant conditions will be eligible for the grant. Compensation will not be payable in respect of applications failing to meet the conditions.

Are there implications for planning law?

The environmental implications of any development likely to have an impact on any SAC have to be assessed irrespective of the location of the development. In some cases this may require a full Environmental Impact Statement. Planning permission would be unlikely to be granted where such an assessment shows that the development would have a significant adverse effect on the NHA, SAC or SPA.

Will I be able to cut turf if my land, or land on which I have turbary rights, is included in an SAC?

Each bog will be looked at individually to assess the impact of existing turbary. In general, it is not necessary to immediately restrict domestic cutting of turf, particularly on blanket bogs. If it becomes necessary to impose such restrictions, compensation will be payable.

If I have any further questions, who do I approach?

In the first instance, you should approach your local Conservation Ranger or other local NPWS staff who will be able to offer specific advice relating to your particular circumstances. They are the best people to discuss queries in relation to conservation issues affecting land in their areas. For details of your local ranger, visit our website or call the Helpline number below. You can also obtain further information on conservation sites from the Helpline (1800-405000).

If my land is included in an NHA, SAC or SPA, will my ownership be affected?

Designation has no effect whatsoever on land ownership.

Maps and Data

Nothing appeared when I agreed to the terms. I can't see any maps.

Popup Blockers

In order to maximise the possible map display area the NPWS MapViewer launches within a pop up. In addition the Map Viewer Help File, the Detailed Results page, the Print Map View and the Download Tool all use popups.

You are not required to uninstall your anti-popup software. This section describes how you may set several of the most common popup blockers to allow popups from this site. Our recommendation is that you allow popups from the www.npws.ie domains. Due to the large number of pop-up blockers it is not possible to provide a comprehensive guide. For instructions on other pop-up blockers, please refer to your popup blocker users guide.

It is possible to have several popup blockers running simultaneously. If this is the case on your system you may have to allow popups from www.npws.ie on each one.

Microsoft's XP Service Pack 2 Using Internet Explorer

  • From the Internet Explorer tool-bar, select the Tools menu.
    From the drop down menu, click Internet Options then select the Privacy tab. At the bottom of the Privacy section there should be a Pop-up Blocker section.
    Select the Settings button.
  • Add www.npws.ie to the "Address of Website'' to allow section.
  • Click the Add button, then Select the Close button, then Select the OK button.
  •  
  • Firefox

When blocking a popup, Firefox displays an information bar, as well as an icon in the status bar. When you click either the Options button in the information bar or the icon in the status bar, a menu is displayed with the following choices:

  • Allow/Block popups for this site
  • Edit Popup Blocker
  • Don't show this message when popups are blocked
  • Show a blocked popup

To allow pop-ups from the www.npws.ie domain?.

either

Click Allow popups from this site.

Or

Click the ''Edit Popup Blocker'' options and add the the www.npws.ie domain.

Then click OK.

Google ToolBar

Click the ''Add to whitelist'' option

Yahoo Toolbar

Select ''Always allow popups from'' and add the
www.npws.ie domain.

Why does the map appear yellow?

After carrying out a query or selecting a designated area or grid square using any of the selection tools the result is displayed in yellow. To clear these selections use the clear result button. Please check the help file for more information on how the Map Viewer tools work.

What are the Red Shapes on the map?

The Special Area of Conservation display by default. If you click the Contents tab and then click on the ''View Legend'' button the map legend will appear. Remember to return to the contents tab to select other designation types for display.

How do I return to the full map of Ireland?

Please check the help file for more information on how the Map Viewer tools work. The tool required is the ''Zoom to original Extent Button''

I use a Pop Up Blocker, how can I set it to allow your popup from your site?

Popup Blockers

In order to maximise the possible map display area the NPWS MapViewer launches within a pop up. In addition the Map Viewer Help File, the Detailed Results page, the Print Map View and the Download Tool all use popups.

You are not required to uninstall your anti-popup software. This section describes how you may set several of the most common popup blockers to allow popups from this site. Our recommendation is that you allow popups from the www.npws.ie and www.designatednatureareas.ie/mapviewer domains. Due to the large number of pop-up blockers it is not possible to provide a comprehensive guide. For instructions on other pop-up blockers, please refer to your popup blocker users guide.

It is possible to have several popup blockers running simultaneously. If this is the case on your system you may have to allow popups from www.npws.ie and www.designatednatureareas.ie/mapviewer on each one.

Microsoft's XP Service Pack 2 Using Internet Explorer

  • From the Internet Explorer tool-bar, select the Tools menu.
    From the drop down menu, click Internet Options then select the Privacy tab. At the bottom of the Privacy section there should be a Pop-up Blocker section.
    Select the Settings button.
  • Add www.npws.ie and www.designatednatureareas.ie/mapviewer to the "Address of Website'' to allow section.
  • Click the Add button, then Select the Close button, then Select the OK button.
  •  
  • Firefox

When blocking a popup, Firefox displays an information bar, as well as an icon in the status bar. When you click either the Options button in the information bar or the icon in the status bar, a menu is displayed with the following choices:

  • Allow/Block popups for this site
  • Edit Popup Blocker
  • Don't show this message when popups are blocked
  • Show a blocked popup

To allow pop-ups from the www.npws.ie and/or the www.designatednatureareas.ie domain?.

either

Click Allow popups from this site.

Or

Click the ''Edit Popup Blocker'' options and add the the www.npws.ie and www.designatednatureareas.ie domains

Then click OK.

Google ToolBar

Click the ''Add to whitelist'' option

Yahoo Toolbar

Select ''Always allow popups from'' and add the
www.npws.ie and www.designatednatureareas.ie domains

Site Designation

How does the Site Designation Process work?

At a national level, this Department consults regularly with stakeholders including the major non-Government farming and conservation groups and other government departments. For consultation at a local level, owners of lands and/or rights in designated areas are identified and notified of proposals that may affect them and invited to attend public consultation meetings to develop conservation plans for the sites.  The Department also places advertisements locally in press and on radio to maximise awareness of any new statutory proposals.

Learn more about the Site Designation Process by clicking on the following link:

Site Designation Process PDF icon [112 KB]