Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Recently Added Legislation
Current Legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of Conservation environmental legislation that may affect your business in Northern Ireland. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

Canada Geese Order (Northern Ireland) 1987 SI 403

Adds Canada Geese to the list of species protected in the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985

Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995 SR 380

Protects certain birds, plants, animals, marine life and their habitats, including Natura 2000 sites, through creating criminal offences and changing planning requirements.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2004 SR 435

Amends 1995/380 to make it illegal to trade in protected species of animals and wild plants from any EU country. Amends the definition of 'wild birds' to include all EU wild birds.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 SR 345

Amends 1995/380 with additional measures for conserving natural habitats and wild flora and fauna in Northern Ireland, including modifying the offence of deliberately disturbing wild animals, particularly animals and plants protected by European law.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 SR 8

Amends 1995/380 to cover monitoring capturing and killing, increasing the protection of wild animals, and reducing the scope of available defences.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 SR 216

Amends 1995/380 to meet the requirements of the Wild Birds Directive by classifying suitable sites as special protection areas.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 SR 368

Amends 1995/380 to transpose certain obligations contained in the Wild Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive and generally place duties on public bodies to take measures to preserve, maintain and re-establish habitat for wild birds.

Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 SI 3153 (NI 7) (including amendments up to 2004)

Covers several environmental issues, including pollution prevention control, assessment and management of air quality, and designation of areas of special scientific interest (ASSIs).

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 SR 252

Brings into force rules to force polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, species and their habitats and protected sites. The polluter does not have to be prosecuted first, so remedying the damage should be faster.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2009 SR 361

Amends 2009/252 to update how warrants can be issued and enforced, give magistrates more flexibility in the fines they can apply for conviction and to clarify that references to European legislation include any future amendments.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2011 SR210

Amends 2009/252 to include the geological storage of carbon dioxide as an activity for which operators will be liable if environmental damage is caused.

EU Regulation on the Protection of Species of Wild Fauna and Flora by Regulating Trade 338/1997

Sets out rules for import, export and re-export, and internal EU trade in specimens of wild fauna and flora.

Marine (Northern Ireland) Act 2013

Establishes a strategic system of marine planning in Northern Ireland’s inshore region (out to 12 nautical miles). Contains provisions allowing the Department of the Environment to designate marine conservation zones. Assists in the delivery of a modernised licensing and enforcement regime.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

Establishes Natural England as the main body responsible for conserving, enhancing and managing England's natural environment. It also covers biodiversity, pesticides harmful to wildlife and the protection of birds.

Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985

Establishes the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside and sets out the DoE's rights and duties to protect and enhance sites of natural beauty or special scientific interest in Northern Ireland.

Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 SI 492

Amends 1989 to replace the Committee for Nature Conservation and the Ulster Countryside Committee with the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside.

Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1999 SR 73

Requires that planning application decisions consider the potential environmental impact of the project. Sets out which developments require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the rules and procedures relating to EIAs.

Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 (NI 2) (including updates)

Makes it an offence to interfere with certain species of wild animals and plants, with certain exceptions, which require a licence. Specifies open and closed periods for hunting of limited species, with special protection for deer.

Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1985/171 (as amended)

It is an offence under Article 15 if anyone plants or otherwise causes to grow in the wild any species of plant listed on Schedule 9 Part II.

Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Amends the Wildlife (NI) Order 1985 and the Environment (NI) Order 2002 and adds new provisions to protect a greater range of plants, animals, birds and to increase protection to Areas of Special Scientific Interest. Gives authorities new powers.

Environmental News Blog

  • A day with Hydrology, SEPA's hydrometry unit is responsible for around 400 gauging stations and 350 rainfall monitoring sites. River gauging stations are important as they allow river levels to be monitored so flood events can be predicted and flood warnings sent out.

  • Brewing and Distilling Technical Drop-in Day: Waste, Water, Energy, Brewing and Distilling is booming due to high demand for quality Scottish beers and spirits. All this growth is also leading to a boom in food waste, energy and water use.

NetRegs on NetRegs on youTube

View our latest videos & subscribe to our channel.

NetRegs Update Newsletter

Free monthly email newsletter with environmental updates for Northern Ireland and Scotland

Sign up for free today!


NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms