II. Natura Impact Report in support of the Appropriate Assessment
Section 1 Introduction
This Natura Impact Report (NIR) has been prepared in support of the Appropriate Assessment (AA) of the Chief Executive’s Draft Carlow County Development Plan 2022-2028 in accordance with the requirements of Article 6(3) of Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (as amended) (hereafter referred to as the “Habitats Directive”).
This report is part of the ongoing AA process that is being undertaken alongside the preparation of the Plan. It will be considered, alongside other documentation prepared as part of this process, when Carlow County Council finalises the AA at adoption of the Plan.
1.2 Legislative Context
The Habitats Directive provides legal protection for habitats and species of European importance. The overall aim of the Habitats Directive is to maintain or restore the “favourable conservation status” of habitats and species of European Community Interest. These habitats and species are listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives (Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds) with Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs) designated to afford protection to the most vulnerable of them. These two designations are collectively known as European Sites (also known as Natura 2000 sites).
AA is required by the Habitats Directive, as transposed into Irish legislation by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 (as amended) and the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended). AA is an assessment of the potential for adverse or negative effects of a plan or project, in combination with other plans or projects, on the conservation objectives of a European Site. These sites consist of SACs and SPAs and provide for the protection and long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats.