Development affecting Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSIs)
The general procedure for development and other operations affecting ASSIs is much the same as for SSSIs. It is set out in the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002. This Order places a similar duty on public authorities to that given by Section 28G of the Wildlife and Countryside Act.
At National Policy level, ASSIs are afforded protection under Planning Policy Statement 2 for Northern Ireland. Developments inside or in close proximity to ASSIs will undergo detailed examination and those which are perceived to have negative direct, or indirect, effects on the integrity of the site will be refused. Only in certain circumstances, where development outweighs the scientific value of the site, are proposals likely to be permitted. Where development is permitted, it will often be subject to a set of strict planning conditions designed to protect or enhance the site’s nature conservation interest.