NIEA compiles a list of the most important plants, animals and geological interests that are the designated features of the site and also produces a list of activities for each ASSI that it considers may have a significant impact on these site selection features. When an ASSI is declared, owners and occupiers receive a list of these - known as "notifiable operations".

Seeking consent

Should a landowner (including Government bodies) wish to carry out any activity that is a notifiable operation, they must apply to NIEA for Consent. NIEA representatives will then consider in detail the potential impacts of the proposed operation and, if necessary, give guidance on how it may be carried out in a way that protects the designated features of the ASSI.  

The majority of applications for consent for proposals are approved by NIEA, although they may set conditions on how they are carried out - in many cases this would be because certain actions would be prevented by other legislation, for example, by planning, agricultural or waste management regulations and regulations to prevent water pollution.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has an online service for operations and activities requiring consent in Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

This online consent service makes consent applications more convenient, efficient and straightforward. It is linked into NIEA’s Natural Environment map viewer, whereby applicants can easily generate maps, ‘redline’ the area where activity will be carried out and attach it to the application form.

A hard copy of this form can also be posted out if required, please contact Conservation Designations and Protection (CDP) Unit on

Carrying out Notifiable Operations on land designated as an ASSI without written consent from NIEA is an offence. If you would like to report suspected damage in a protected area please email:

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