Under the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 – 2021
Guidance on the Strict Protection of Certain Animal and Plant Species under the EU Habitats Directive in Ireland
The EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011-2021 provide strict protection for all of the Irish species listed on Annex IV of the EU’s Habitats Directive. It does this by prohibiting certain activities which could impact on the conservation status of those species. Those activities may only be permitted by way of a derogation licence. It should be noted that the Minister can only issue such derogation licences in very limited circumstances. Any person thinking of applying for a derogation licence under these regulations should first read the document entitled "Guidance on the Strict Protection of Certain Animal and Plant Species" which details the strict protection measures around certain animal and plant species in Ireland under the EU Habitats Directive. It lists all animals and plants in Ireland that currently qualify for a derogation licence so this document should be consulted if you are unsure whether or not a particular species is protected. This document also describes what criteria must be met for a derogation licence to be issued and how Public Authorities, in particular, should approach activities where Annex IV species are involved.
Public Authorities should also read the more detailed document entitled "Strict Protection of Animal Species - Guidance for Public Authorities". This document offers a decision-making process for Public Authorities when planning their own works, to ensure that they are in compliance with the legislation. This document will also be helpful for developers and other people planning works which might impact on strictly protected terrestrial species.
Derogation Licence for Bats
All bat species found in Ireland are listed under Annex IV of the EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 – 2021 and as a result works which would capture or kill them, damage or destroy their roosts or disturb them at important parts of their life cycle cannot take place without first obtaining a Derogation Licence. This licence is issued under Regulation 54 of the Regulations and strict criteria must be met before such a licence can be approved.
Any person considering applying for a derogation licence should familiarise themselves with the document referenced above. They should also refer to the following document "Bat Mitigation Guidelines for Ireland" which provides information on bat survey requirements and mitigation measures for bats when carrying out works which may disturb them.
If it is established from reading the above that a derogation licence is required and the qualifying criteria have been met, an application form can be filled out and submitted. Once completed it should be submitted by email to email@example.com or posted to the address advised on the form. All applications must be accompanied by a detailed and up to date ecologist’s report covering all information laid out in the application form.
Bats in Houses
For individual bats that become trapped in a house, in the vast majority of cases, no licence is required. The best course of action is to contain the bat in a single room of the house and try and get it to exit through an open window or door. Further information on what to do if you encounter bats in your home can be found by reading "Bat in Houses Leaflet".
While bats often roost in houses without the home-owner even noticing, a bat colony in a house can sometimes lead to a certain degree of inconvenience or disturbance. In such limited circumstances it is possible to apply for a Domestic Dwelling Derogation Licence (3D licence) to exclude bats from the premises. Usually, this will involve an NPWS member of staff visiting the property and making a series of recommendations to the landowner. A licence may subsequently be issued outlining the approved actions which may be taken to safely exclude bats from the dwelling. An application form for such a licence can be found in the "Application for a Licence to Exclude Bats from Domestic Dwellings" form and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to the address stated on the form.
Derogation Licence for other Annex IV Species
There are a number of other Annex IV species present in Ireland and under the EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 – 2021 all are afforded the same level of protection as bats. A derogation licence must be obtained before any of these species are affected and failure to do so could result in prosecution. It should be noted that the Minister can only issue such derogations in very limited circumstances, as explained in the Guidance document. The list of Annex IV species for which a derogation licence can be applied for is below as well as the application form needed to apply. Completed application forms should be submitted by email to email@example.com or posted to the address stated on the form. All applications must be accompanied by a detailed and up to date ecologist’s report covering all information laid out in the application form.
- Kerry Slug
- Natterjack Toad