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Announcing Ireland's biggest EVER protected area for birds

13th July 2023

Reviewing the details of the new North-West Irish Sea Special Protection Area

There's #GoodNewsforNature and then there's GREAT news for nature, and today I've announced Ireland's biggest EVER protected area for birds.

The new North-West Irish Sea Special Protection Area (SPA) is to be designated under the EU Birds Directive and will cover more than 230,000 hectares of important marine waters for a range of bird species throughout the year.

This new SPA adjoins 12 existing SPAs on the east coast, and brings to over 9% the percentage of Irish waters protected under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives. The details published today also bring certainty and clarity to our long-held ambition to protect marine birds in this area.

It has always been my belief that biodiversity action and climate action must go hand in hand, and we are working hard as a Government to ensure we have robust protections in place for nature as we work to deliver on our offshore renewable energy objectives.

I am delighted that we have been able to realise our long-held objective to extend and significantly improve the protections in place for our marine birds with this, the largest SPA designation for birds in Ireland’s history. Check out the map below to see the full extent of this vital new special protected area.

The new SPA will cover 230k hectares of vital habitat for a host of gulls, divers, terns and seabirds.


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