Advice and Information for planning approval on land which is of nature conservation value

The following information is available to better help understand what is required when applying for planning approval on land which is of nature conservation value, so as to ensure sustainable development methods are applied and adhered to throughout the planning process.


By supplying a comprehensive and informed application to Planning Service your time in the planning process may be shortened.

NIEA Natural Heritage recommends that all works comply with British Standard 42020:2013 which came into effect on 31 August 2013. This British Standard provides recommendations and guidance for those engaged in planning and development whose work might affect or have implications for conservation, or the enhancement of biodiversity.

Please continue to visit this section of the website regularly, as we will update and add more information accordingly.


The following documents contain information on how the Development Management Team assess Planning Applications for renewables.

Wind Energy Development and Active Peatland

Active peatland is a determining factor when assessing wind energy applications. The following internal reference document to guide NIEA staff on the identification of active peatland in relation to PPS18 is made available for the reference of developers and their agents and consultants when preparing applications for renewables on peatland sites.


Anerobic Digestors

Planting proposals

When designing any development it is important to include native species of local provenance to the planting list. The following document lists those species which are considered native in Northern Ireland. These species can be used alone or in conjunction with ornamental species to attract invertebrates, birds and mammals which will result in biodiversity gain.

Protected Species

The following publications contain information on protected species and Development. Please refer to these guides when assessing the impact of your proposal on protected species.

Please note since the publication of the bats and development booklet recent research shows that wind turbines have the potential to impact bats.This information applies to page 24 of the booklet.

Protection Zones

Badgers (Meles meles)

As detailed in the Badgers and Development booklet - badger setts require protection zones at a distance of 25 metres from each sett entrance. This is to ensure that setts are not damaged during construction works. The following document shows the type of fencing which must be used where badgers and other mammals are present to allow their safe passage around the site. This fencing can also be used, in conjunction with badger proof fencing, to direct badgers away from dangerous areas on site or when creating artificial setts.

Rivers and Streams

The current policy is to ensure the protection of watercourses using buffer zones.  Prior to any works commencing on site all streams should be protected from development at a distance of 5 metres or at a distance of 10 metres from rivers, within which no works, clearence, storage or run off should be permitted.

Should you have any queries regarding watercourses and biodiversity please contact the Development Management Team.

Invasive Species

Invasive species are those non- native species which out-compete native species. Once an invasive species has established within a site its spread can be rapid. Often this can occur through construction works during development. The following guide provides information on identifying the most prevalent invasive species in Ireland.

You can identify invasive species from the Field Guide to Invasive Species in Ireland and find out about measures to control invasive species.

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