Natural Heritage Areas (NHA) are afforded protection in Ireland under the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000.
Local Planning Authorities (LPA) are therefore obliged to give full regard to biodiversity when assessing planning applications. Only those proposals which are considered not to adversely affect the designated features of NHAs, or are deemed necessary for overriding reasons of public interest, are likely to be approved. The LPA may also implement a set of planning conditions, or request that changes are made to the proposal, prior to approving the application. Where development plans have the potential to impact upon NHAs, guidance may be sought from the Local Authority Development Plan.