EU Regulations

The conservation of biodiversity in Ireland has been strengthened and expanded by EU law, most notably by the EU Birds Directive and  EU Habitats Directive and also by the EIA Directive (85/337/EEC).

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, as well as addressing transposition failures identified in judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The Regulations have been prepared to address several judgments of the CJEU against Ireland, notably cases C-418/04 and C-183/05, in respect of failure to transpose elements of the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive into Irish law. 


In 1997, the Habitats Directive was transposed into Irish national law and the relevant Regulations, the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997, SI 94/1997 represent a fundamental shift in nature conservation policy and law. These Regulations were amended by SI 233/1998 &SI 378/2005. These were subsequently revised and consolidated in the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.

The folllowing Circulars have been issued by NPWS as guidance on implementation of the Regulations: