Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000

The main objectives of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act, 2000 are to:

  • provide a mechanism to give statutory protection to NHAs;
  • provide for statutory protection for important geological and geomorphological sites, including fossil sites by designation as NHAs; 
  • improve some existing measures, and introduce new ones, to enhance the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats; 
  • enhance a number of existing controls in respect of hunting, which are designed to serve the interests of wildlife conservation;
  • broaden the scope of the Wildlife Acts to include most species, including the majority of fish and aquatic invertebrate species which were excluded from the 1976 Act; 
  • introduce new provisions to enable regulation of the business of commercial shoot operators;
  • increase substantially the level of fines for contravention of the Wildlife Acts and to allow for the imposition of prison sentences;
  • provide mechanisms to allow the Minister to act independently of forestry legislation, for example, in relation to the acquisition of land by agreement; 
  • strengthen the provisions relating to the cutting of hedgerows during the critical bird-nesting period and include a requirement that hedgerows may only be cut during that period by public bodies, including local authorities, for reasons of public health or safety;
  • strengthen the protective regime for Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) by removing any doubt that protection will in all cases apply from the time of notification of proposed sites; 
  • and give specific statutory recognition to the Minister's responsibilities in regard to promoting the conservation of biological diversity, in light of Ireland's commitment to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.