Planning Role of NPWS

Under the Planning and Development Regulations, a planning authority must refer all planning applications that might have significant effects in relation to nature conservation to the Minister

Applications should be sent to:-

All relevant development applications should be sent to electronically to, or if electronic referral is not possible, by post to:

Minister for Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
C/O The Manager, Development Applications Unit
Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
Newtown Road

The Development Applications Unit coordinates the evaluation of such applications by the various technical services of the Department, including NPWS. An application is examined with reference to its impact on designated sites and taking into account the provisions of domestic and European legislation. On the basis of this appraisal, the Department may recommend to the planning authority that further information should be requested from the developer (for instance, assessment of impacts on specific species) or that certain planning conditions should be included in a grant of permission. In extreme cases, where significant negative impacts on nature conservation may not be mitigated the Department may recommend to the planning authority that planning permission not be granted.

What to send us

All referrals to or consultations with this Department must be accompanied by a cover letter or consultation notice that clearly sets out the Regulations under which the referral or consultation is occurring. Referrals and consultation notices should come directly from the relevant competent authority on headed paper, rather than from contractors or consultants. Any documents or submissions received without a cover letter or consultation notice are likely to be returned and clarification sought. This will delay the commencement of the referral timeframe.

Public Authority Plans


  • For public authorities preparing plans for which an Appropriate Assessment is required, the Natura Impact Statement must be submitted to the Minister six weeks before the appropriate assessment is completed. The requirements for this consultation and the appropriate assessment itself are set out in Regulation 42 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.
  • Referrals to this Department under this Regulation must also be accompanied by a formal notification/cover letter from the relevant public authority stating that they are submitting the NIS as required under Regulation 42 of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.
  • The Department will return observations within 6 weeks.
  • Public authorities shall not conclude their appropriate assessment until 6 weeks after submission of the Natura Impact Statement to the Minister.
  • Public authorities are also advised that the plan which the NIS concerns should also be submitted with the NIS.


"Guidance on Appropriate Assessment for Planning Authorities"