A major review of Ireland’s wildlife legislation is to begin this summer, Minister of State for nature Malcolm Noonan has announced.

Members of the public will soon be able to participate in a public consultation to review and update the legislation.

This legislation includes the Wildlife Act 1976, the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 and related regulations.

This legislation covers areas such as the protection of birds, the protection of certain wild animals and the protection of certain lands, sites and habitats.

It also governs the dates around burning and hedgecutting.

“This is the biggest review of wildlife legislation for a generation. It is vital that the public has their say,” Minister Noonan said.


The review will examine a host of issues, including penalties for wildlife crime, enforcement measures, licensing requirements, wildlife protection and habitat protection, among many others.

The Department wants to hear from the public on how the legislation can be improved, what extra protections should be provided and what the priorities should be.

Minister Malcolm Noonan. \Claire Nash

This review will seek to strike an appropriate balance between the needs of humans and the needs of wildlife.

The update of wildlife legislation is part of a commitment under the programme for government to “review the protection (including enforcement of relevant legislation) of our natural heritage, including hedgerows, native woodland and wetlands”.

Protecting nature

The objectives are to update legislation so that it better protects nature, helps prevent biodiversity loss, is fully compliant with EU law and is easier to enforce and comply with, the Department said.

The first phase of the consultation will be an online public one and will run from mid-June to September.

The review will be completed over several years and will entail several phases of public consultation. The aim is to have substantial updates of legislation passed by the end of 2027.