The European Union’s Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (as amended) requires Member States to protect habitats and wildlife areas of European interest by, among other things, designating sites as Special Areas of Conservation in order to create a coherent European ecological network. The hyperlink:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/legislation/habitatsdirective/index_en.htm which connects to the European Commission Environment (Nature and Biodiversity) website also contains a further link to the text of the Habitats Directive.
The effect of these Regulations is to complete the formal designation of the site as a Special Area of Conservation in accordance with Article 4 of the Directive. The geographical area of the Special Area of Conservation designated by these Regulations is defined in Schedule 1 (a map of the area) and Schedule 2 (a list of the townlands in question or a description of the area). For more detailed maps than those contained in Schedule 1, or for greater detail on boundary delineation, contact should be made with the National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht or by viewing the relevant text or map details on www.npws.ie.
The natural habitat types and animal and plant species lists cited in Schedule 3 of these Regulations are specified, in accordance with the Directive, in order to ensure their conservation (i.e. the measures required to maintain or restore the natural habitats and the populations of species of wild fauna and flora at a favourable status). The updated list of published conservation objectives referred to in Regulation 3 is available on www.npws.ie. Public authorities should have regard to these objectives when undertaking a screening or appropriate assessment of plans or projects in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive.
Those activities that require consent of the Minister or in some circumstances another public authority listed at Schedule 4 to these Regulations are cited for their potential to cause disturbance or damage to the natural habitat types and animal and plant species specified in Schedule 3 of these Regulations. Landowners or occupiers should contact the local National Parks and Wildlife Service office of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht before undertaking any of the works listed at Schedule 4. (See www.npws.ie for contact details). Please note that activities other than those listed at Schedule 4 to these Regulations, such as effluent discharge, construction work, aquaculture, fishing or forestry require a licence or permission from the appropriate consent authority.
These Regulations provide (Regulations 6 and 7) that contravention of the provisions of these Regulations shall constitute an offence. Regulation 6 also provides for penalties.