Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

The main objectives of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000 are to:

  • provide a mechanism to give statutory protection to NHAs;
  • provide for statutory protection for important geological and geomorphological sites, including fossil sites by designation as NHAs; 
  • improve some existing measures, and introduce new ones, to enhance the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats; 
  • enhance a number of existing controls in respect of hunting, which are designed to serve the interests of wildlife conservation;
  • broaden the scope of the Wildlife Acts to include most species, including the majority of fish and aquatic invertebrate species which were excluded from the 1976 Act; 
  • introduce new provisions to enable regulation of the business of commercial shoot operators;
  • ensure or strengthen compliance with international agreements and, in particular, enable Ireland to ratify the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds Agreement (AEWA)
  • increase substantially the level of fines for contravention of the Wildlife Acts and to allow for the imposition of prison sentences;
  • provide mechanisms to allow the Minister to act independently of forestry legislation, for example, in relation to the acquisition of land by agreement; 
  • strengthen the provisions relating to the cutting of hedgerows during the critical bird-nesting period and include a requirement that hedgerows may only be cut during that period by public bodies, including local authorities, for reasons of public health or safety;
  • strengthen the protective regime for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) by removing any doubt that protection will in all cases apply from the time of notification of proposed sites; 
  • and give specific statutory recognition to the Minister's responsibilities in regard to promoting the conservation of biological diversity, in light of Ireland's commitment to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • In July 2023, the Oireachtas passed the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2023. This Act amends the 2000 Act. The main purpose of this Act is to give legal effect to the proposed reconfiguration of the raised bog Natural Heritage Area network arising from the 2014 Review of Raised Bog Natural Heritage Area Network, to set down statutory criteria for a future review of blanket bog Natural Heritage Areas, to put the National Biodiversity Action Plan on a statutory footing and to place a biodiversity duty on public bodies.
  •  An unofficial consolidation of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - 2023 can be viewed at this link: Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 - 2023 unofficial consolidation