European sites in Irish planning
There are other types of area, but these do not come directly from planning legislation, but are an added layer. These include:
- Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Natural Heritage Areas (NHAs) which can be designated under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000.
- Special Protection Areas (SPAs) continue to be created under the EU Habitats and Birds Directives.
Such areas are referred to as European sites. In relation to the planning process, once sites have been adopted as being of community importance (the second stage of the process), it is mandatory to include objectives in development plans for their protection. In the course of assessing relevant planning applications, considerations must be given to the impact of the development proposed on such adopted sites, normally, though not exclusively, by means of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).