Activities Requiring Consent

Activities requiring consent (ARCs) are specific activities which have the potential to damage a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA).  SACs and SPAs are collectively termed ‘European sites’ or ‘Natura 2000 sites’. 

A list of 38 ARCs has been established, ranging from “Reclamation, including infilling” to “Lighting up caves, buildings or other places used by bats for roosts”.  The particular ARC or ARCs attached to a European Site depends on the habitats and/or species for which the site is protected.

See the complete list of 38 ARCS here.

ARCs are not prohibited activities but before being carried out, consent must be granted by the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (‘the Minister’) or by another relevant public authority to which the consent function for that activity falls.  

This prior consent requirement ensures that the Minister (or the relevant competent authority) carries out the necessary environmental assessment to determine if the activity can take place and if any conditions should be attached to any consent given. 

It is an offence to carry out an ARC without prior consent.

How to apply for consent

In order to apply to carry out an ARC within a SAC or a SPA, please print off and complete the relevant application for consent form:

Application form SAC

Application form SPA

Completed forms should be returned to the local regional NPWS office

How to find out which ARCs have been assigned to a European site?

If a European site has been formally designated by statutory instrument (S.I.), the ARC or ARCs attached to that site are included as a schedule to the S.I.  For example, see Schedule 4 to S.I. No. 91/2019 for the Malahide Estuary Special Area of Conservation. 

If the European site has not yet been formally designated by S.I., information on the ARC(s) attached to that site will have been included in a ‘site pack’ sent to the landowner (and where known, the relevant occupier or user of the land) at the time of public notification of the Minister’s intention to designate the site as a SAC or classify the site as a SPA.  SACs and SPAs are afforded protection from the time of public notification of the intention to designate the site. 

Notifiable Actions

The terms ‘notifiable actions’, ‘notifiable activities’ and ‘operations requiring consent’ were used before the Department adopted the term ‘activities requiring consent’. These terms may appear on older statutory instruments or on the information included in the site pack sent to landowners. See list of ‘notifiable actions’ presented by habitats and species.

The terms ‘notifiable actions’, ‘notifiable activities’ and ‘operations requiring consent’ have the same meaning as ‘ARCs’ – i.e. they are activities that require the consent of the Minister or another relevant public authority before the activity can be carried out.

Consent to Carry Out Works on a NHA

In Ireland, there are 148 Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) that have been designated by Statutory Instrument (S.I.). They are all bogs, either raised or blanket.

Landowners are required to apply for permission to the Minister under Regulation 19 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 to carry out certain works on a NHA. The works which require the consent of the Minister are found at Schedule 2 of the S.I. designating the relevant NHA. For example, see schedule 2 to S.I. No. 508/2007 for Knockroe Bog Natural Heritage Area. 

This prior consent requirement ensures that the Minister carries out the necessary environmental assessment to determine if the activity can take place and if any conditions should be attached to any consent given. 

If you wish to apply to carry out works on an NHA, you can download the application form here.

Last updated: 31/01/2020