National Appropriate Assessment Forum: Membership, Agendas/Minutes, Reports/Presentations

In 2019, the Department established the National Appropriate Assessment Forum to increase stakeholder engagement and to assist Government Departments and other public authorities in fulfilling the requirements of Article 6 of the Habitats Directive for which they are responsible.

The Forum meets twice a year and provides an opportunity to share information, experience and good practice.

20 public authorities are currently members of the National AA Forum, together with the Local Government Management Agency (representing 31 local authorities). This includes all public authorities with key responsibilities in undertaking AA assessments for plans and projects

Agenda: Inaugural meeting of the National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Inaugural meeting of the National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Forum

Whether issues arising from the implementation of Article 12 of the Habitats Directive would be dealt with by the Forum

Natura 2000 Network in Ireland
Rebecca Jeffrey, Scientific Unit, NPWS
July 17 2019

National Appropriate Assessment Forum
John Fitzgerald, Principal Officer, National Parks and Wildlife Service
17th July 2019

Agenda: Second Meeting of the National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Second Meeting of the National Appropriate Assessment Forum

The Forum aims to enable the sharing of information, experience and good practice between public authorities in relation to the implementation of the appropriate assessment requirements of the Habitats Directive and related matters.

Overview of the various resources and tools for accessing NPWS ecological data. Data not publicly available could be requested though the NPWS website.

While there are a number of pressures and threats to habitats and species, agriculture is the most significant of these.

The most notable trend is the decline in ground nesting and breeding birds

Accessing NPWS Ecological Data
National Appropriate Assessment Forum
Gemma Weir, Ecological Data Manager, NPWS, 16/10/2019

Birds Directive Reporting for the period 2012 – 2018, Birds Unit,
October, 2019

Article 17 Assessment
Deirdre Lynn, NPWS

Agenda: Third National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: National Appropriate Assessment Forum

The development of new Article 6 guidance for public authorities is underway and a Project Working Group has been established.

Presentation of court judgments in relation to mitigation at AA screening, following on from the People Over Wind judgement.

Agenda: Fourth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Fourth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Function of Forum is to bring public authorities together to share information and knowledge rather than problem-solve. This is reflected in the Terms of Reference for the Forum.

Presentation on wintering waterbirds and the potential impacts on them

Data and research studies – need for centralised repository to bring information together

Issue of screening for AA and the consequences in terms of the Planning Act and its implementation when things screen in

Special Protection Areas: impacts of disturbance on wintering waterbirds
Dr Seán Kelly, Waterbird Ecologist, NPWS
National Appropriate Assessment Forum
25th February 2021

Appropriate Assessment: Perspectives from the Inspectorate of An Bord Pleanála
Presentation to National AA Forum, NPWS, 25th Feb 2021
Maeve Flynn BSc. PhD, MCIEEM
Inspectorate Ecologist, An Bord Pleanála

Agenda: Fifth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Fifth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Scope for national one-stop shop for biodiversity data.

Huge data management resources that would be required and that it would need to be a dynamic
system with different ways of sharing. Important to make sure licencing is correct and there is clarity upfront about ownership and who can use it.

Noted difficulties Coillte having with key data set in hen harrier sites with implications for how they do AA

Update on Guidance for Public Authorities on Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive

TII’s public consultation procedures – they made the public consultation as high profile as possible but received no comments from the public

Lack of professional ecologist review internally within local authorities and planning authorities

Amendments to EC (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011

National Appropriate Assessment Forum: OPR and Environmental Assessments
23 June 2021
Kenneth Moloney, Senior Planner

Biodiversity Maps – a national biodiversity mapping and data portal

Presentation to the Appropriate Assessment Forum
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII)
Wednesday, 23rd of June 2021

Agenda: Sixth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Sixth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Opening the forum to all local authorities might not be practical

Forestry regulations were changed following legal advice to allow them to do an Appropriate Assessment Report (AAR) in lieu of an NIS.

National Biodiversity Policy
Deirdre Lynn, National Parks and Wildlife Service
November 2021



Agenda: National Appropriate Assessment Forum – Seventh Meeting

Minutes: National Appropriate Assessment Forum – Seventh Meeting

Overview of the Wild Atlantic Nature LIFE project, including its focus, approach and integrated land use framework. The project focuses on quality and takes a results-based approach that invests in landowner skills.

General overview of the LIFE programme, including its structure and financial framework. LIFE programme is a policy instrument grounded in the European Green Deal and projects must be linked to this policy framework. DECC are the national contact point for LIFE

Concern about the lack of site-specific conservation objectives for some European sites and the potential risk of legal challenge

If there is a map of sites that don’t have site specific conservation objectives yet and if there is a plan for when they will

Department has published site-specific conservation objective documents for 429 out of 439 SACs; and 37 out of 154 SPAs

Recent judicial reviews and case law in which AA was challenged on the grounds that the competent authority was not capable of conducting a valid AA if there was no site conservation objectives in place.

Department to look into recent case law with respect to site conservation objectives and report back to the group

Report back to Irish Water regarding requirements for sites designated for FWPM

Issue of consultants not taking on AA work because of the risk of legal challenge

DAFM are rolling out a new Common Agricultural Policy and queried if a plan is spread out over separate regions is there is a requirement to split it into separate NISs for each area or would one overarching NIS suffice.

NPWS are currently seeking legal advice regarding who is the competent authority for community works

Appendix – Addendum re: Site-Specific Conservation Objectives:

Further to the discussion under agenda item 7, the full list of SACs and SPAs with published detailed
site-specific conservation objective documents, and their publication dates, is listed in pdf below.

Wild Atlantic Nature LIFE: Integrating nature, people and place

Appropriate Assessment Forum

April 2022

EU LIFE Programme: Potential funding for your project
Gerry Clabby, Environment and Climate Research and Advisory Unit
6 April 2022

Agenda: Eight National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Minutes: Eight National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Lough Talt

ABP have an MOU with EPA that covers projects requiring dual consents but they haven’t done any joint ones and planning permissions still require full assessment before getting a licence from the EPA.

Forest Service are often the second competent authority of some applications which have already got planning permission

EPA are often the second competent authority after the planning authority but was not aware of any formal mechanism for carrying out a joint-assessment

Lough Talt and Article 6(4): Irish Water’s journey to upgrading the Lough Talk Regional Water Supply Scheme

Dr Brian Deegan, Lead Ecologist, Irish Water

Agenda: Ninth National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Membership of National Appropriate Assessment Forum

Developing New Guidance for Public Authorities: Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive
Gerry Clabby
Head of Ecological Assessment, National Parks and Wildlife Service
National Appropriate Assessment Forum, 21st October 2020

Mitigation at AA Screening
Presentation to AA Forum, 21 October 2020
Judith O’Connor
Legislation & Guidance Unit, NPWS

AA Procedure for Forestry: An Overview
Kevin Collins
Forestry Inspector – Environment
Department of Agriculture, Food & the

Leave a Reply