In 1992, the EU passed the Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora after the EU responded to the Berne Convention. The European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997, SI 94/1997 is the legislation that transferred it into Irish national law in 1997. The regulations were modified by SI 233/1998 & SI 378/2005. In 2011, the regulations were reviewed and combined with into the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, SI 477/2011 (NPWS [No date]). Special Areas of Conservation are legally protected, unique wildlife areas under the Habitats Directive that are deemed significantly important on a national as well as an international level. Some SAC habitats include machair, sand dunes, woodlands, rivers, turloughs, estuaries and blanket and raised bogs. In Ireland, SAC’s cover an area of 13,500 sq. km. This is approximately 53% land and 47% marine or large lakes. In the EU, over 12,600 sites have been designated, covering 420,000 sq. km of land and sea (Dr. O’ Brien 2014). The Habitats Directive comprises of 6 annexes.
Annex I- Natural Habitat Types of Community Interest whose Conservation requires the Designation of Special Areas of Conservation
Annex I concentrates on areas where conservation is required, so a site is designated as a Special Area of Conservation. Some habitats listed in Annex I, require particular protection and observation as the EU consider them to be priority habitats, since their distribution are confined to the EU and are in danger of disappearing. Ireland has 16 priority habitats (NPWS 2008). There are 59 protected habitats in Ireland (Dr. Simon Berrow 2014) Types of habitats include raised bogs, dry heaths and calaminarian grassland (Conserve Ireland 2009). Every six years, all member states are obliged to report on the implementation of conservation measures and impact of the measures on the conservation status of a habitat. The...