The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local government has today (9/8/2010) published for public consultation the draft European Communities (Birds and Habitats) Regulations 2010. These Regulations address judgments of the European Court of Justice that Irish transposition of the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive are inadequate and the consolidation and updating of the existing European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997-2005.
New provisions relate to the regulation of recreational activities damaging to European nature sites and protected wildlife, public consultation, and new powers for the Minister to give directions to prevent, halt or control operations or activities (inside or outside a European site) that are likely to damage such a site or protected wildlife. Provision is also made for the development, in conjunction with other agencies of the State, of Threat Response Plans to address threats to sites and species.
The Regulations provide for objection to Ministerial directions, for derogations by licence from Ministerial directions in certain circumstances, and appeals to arbitration and the High Court.
Provision is made to control the importation, trade and dispersal of invasive species. Procedures for assessment of the impact of plans and projects are extensively revised and clarified.
Following the enactment of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2010, matters relating to the Birds and Habitats Directives issues that arise in relation to planning and development will under the Planning and Development Acts not be addressed in these Regulations as they are fully addressed in the 2010 Act.
The Minister invites comments on the draft Regulations from interested persons and groups. The Draft Regulations and associated documents are available to
download from www.environ.ie/en/Heritage/NationalParksandWildlife/PublicConsultations/.
Interested parties are invited to consider the proposed European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2010 and to make written submissions, preferably in electronic format, no later than Friday, 3 September 2010.
Submissions can be returned by post or email to: Regulations Unit, National Parks & Wildlife Service, Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2. Email NPWSRegulations@environ.ie.