Plant or animal species protected by law

Certain species of plants and animals are protected by law. The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (the Order) and amendment The Wildlife (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 prohibits the intentional killing, taking or injuring of certain wild birds and wild animals or the intentional destruction, uprooting or picking of certain wild plants.

NIEA Involvement

If a development site is known or is likely to support a protected plant and animal species, the developer is obliged under legislation not to harm those species. NIEA assesses the potential impact of development proposals on those plants and animal species protected by the Order. Mitigation measures and/or conditions may be required to ensure protection of valuable habitats and species.

In addition, The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 (as amended) and The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 state that it is an offence to deliberately capture, injure or kill a wild animal of a European protected species included in Schedule II of these Regulations, which includes bats and otters.

It is also an offence to;

Deliberately disturb such an animal while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for shelter or protection;

Deliberately disturb such an animal in such a way as to be likely to;

  • affect the local distribution or abundance of the species to which it belongs;
  • impair its ability to survive, breed or reproduce, or rear or care for its young; or impair its ability to hibernate or migrate
  • deliberately to obstruct access to a breeding site or resting place of such an animal; or to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of such an animal

If there is evidence of bat or otter activity on the site, all work must cease immediately and further advice must be sought from the Wildlife Officer, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Klondyke Building, Cromac Avenue, Gasworks Business Park, Lower Ormeau Road, Belfast BT72JA. Tel. 028 9056 9602

Certain species of non-native plants are invasive and spread quickly. These species are listed in Schedule 9 Part II of the Wildlife Order. Please see our field guide for further information. Under this legislation it is an offence to release these species into the wild. These species need special treatment to avoid further spread. NIEA will advise Planning Service when invasive species, such as Japanese Knotweed, are found on a proposed development site. Advice on control of invasive species can be found on the Invasive Species Ireland website.
For alternative advice on control of Japanese knotweed see guidelines provided by the Environment Agency.

Advice on how to treat species of agricultural weeds can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website (and in the Noxious Weeds (Northern Ireland) Order 1977.

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