The EU Habitats Directive placed an obligation on Member States of the EU to establish the Natura 2000 network. The network is made up of Special Protection Areas (SPAs) established under the EU Birds Directive, and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), established under the Habitats Directive itself. Ireland’s contribution to the Natura 2000 network was created under the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 (S.I. 94 of 1997 as amended by S.I. 233 of 1998 and S.I. 378 of 2005). These regulations transposed the EU Directives into Irish national law. The designation of individual ‘Natura’ sites has taken place on a rolling basis since establishment.
The requirement for additional information, arising from the ‘Natura 2000’ process, rests, in the first instance, with the State. As I have previously advised the Deputy, the State is engaged in a process leading to full compliance by Ireland with the EU Birds/Habitats Directives.