The European Communities (Control of Recreational Activities) Regulations 2010 were made to regulate certain recreational activities in European nature sites and other areas where they are likely to disturb or damage species protected under EU law.
The Regulations were in response to the increased pressures and instances of serious damage and disturbance being caused to nature sites and wildlife by activities such as quad biking, scrambling and jet-skiing. In 2007, the European Court found that Ireland had not dealt with the problem of the damage being caused by such unrestricted recreational activities, and Ireland faced fines from the European Court.
The types of damage that can be caused include the destruction of upland vegetation leading to erosion, the disturbance of ground-nesting birds and destruction of their nests, the swamping of the nests of water birds by power boats and jet skis, and damage to sand dune systems leading to blow-outs and loss of dunes.
Under these Regulations, a number of Ministerial Directions were made to restrict or to prohibit particular recreational activities in specified places where the protection of the nature sites or species requires. Public notice was given of these restrictions.
The Regulations are not aimed at agricultural or other occupational use of quads or other off-road vehicles or their use by the security or emergency services, but at the uncontrolled use which threatens to damage European nature sites or poses a threat to protected species.
Although the 2010 Regulations have since been incorporated into the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, Directions made under them still have legal effect.
Copies of the Ministerial Directions and the Public Notice are available here:
|Knocksink Wood SAC||0724||Wicklow, Dublin||Camping, lighting fires|
|The Raven cSAC, SPA||0710, 4019||Wexford||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Blackstairs Mountains cSAC||0770||Wexford, Carlow||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Wicklow Mountains cSAC||2122||Wicklow, Dublin||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Kilpatrick Sandhills cSAC||1742||Wexford||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Cahore Dunes & Polder cSAC & Cahore Marshes SPA||0700, 4143||Wexford||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Slieve Blooms cSAC, SPA||0412, 4160||Laois, Offaly||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Carlingford Mountain cSAC||0453||Louth||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Ballyness Bay SAC||1090||Donegal||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Gweedore Bay & Islands SAC||1141||Donegal||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Castlemaine Harbour SAC, SPA (inc. Inch Strand)||0343,4029||Kerry||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Galtee Mountains SAC||0646||Limerick, Tipperary||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Slieve Bearnagh SAC||2312||Clare||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
|Slieve Aughty SPA||4168||Galway, Clare||Use of All Terrain Vehicles|
All terrain vehicles include Quad Bikes, Scrambler Bikes, 4x4 vehicles, but also any other vehicle being used off road, other than a State-owned vehicle or a vehicle being used by An Garda Siochana, the Emergency Services, or the Defence Forces.