National Parks & Wildlife Service
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is fully integrated in the Heritage Division of the Department and has responsibility for the protection and conservation of Ireland’s natural heritage and biodiversity at national government level. The responsibilities of the NPWS include:
- Protection of habitats and species through the promotion of activities considered beneficial to their conservation and restoration.
- Administering a licensing system to regulate and control activities that impact on habitats or species in Ireland.
- Raising awareness about our natural heritage through education and information dissemination. Examples include the Notice Nature Campaign and the NPWS Education and Visitor Centres located at several protected sites around the country.
- To create and maintain a comprehensive inventory of species and habitats in Ireland.
- To undertake scientific surveys and research, and compile monitoring data, to assist in the provision of specialist advice in relation to public policy, designations, and the protection and management of wildlife habitats and species.
- The implementation of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan.
- The implementation of Nature Conservation Legislation and the ratification and implementation of international conventions and agreements relating to the natural heritage.
- To consider and advise on development proposals that may impact on nature conservation.
- To manage, maintain and develop Ireland’s National Parks and Nature Reserves.
- To support the independently chaired Peatlands Council.
Further details and information on the above functions, together with current research projects, scientific publications, legislation, public consultations & notices are available on the dedicated website of the NPWS. We can also be contacted via email or by telephone (contact details in link below).
National Parks and Wildlife Service and Covid-19
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is following all the public health advice from Government in relation to Covid-19, and has put in place a range of measures to protect staff and help prevent the spread of the virus.
Our essential operational work is continuing. This includes keeping our national parks and nature reserves open for local pedestrian access. It should be noted that while the sites are accessible, car parks and all facilities at the sites are closed. We continue to provide wildlife and CITES licensing and other services to our customers across the country. We also continue to provide advice in our role as a statutory consultee in relation to planning and development and on referrals from other consent authorities (under a variety of legislation) and to make 2020 annual payments under the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme. In addition, in our capacity as the competent authority in the State for a number of important international conventions and agreements for nature, we continue to service these and maintain Ireland’s participation in efforts to halt biodiversity loss globally.
As the Covid-19 measures continue in the coming weeks, we will keep operational activities, and advice to our staff and the public, under review in the light of any new public health advice from Government. We will provide updated information here.
Most of our staff are now working remotely. Staff can be contacted by email. As some staff do not have access to their office phone or voice mail we recommend contact is made in the first instance by email for the time being.
Meetings and engagements with our customers continue but, in line with current guidelines, these are now being conducted by email, phone and call & video conferencing.
Our public offices and visitor centres are temporarily closed to visitors. Please do not call to our office locations at this time. Written correspondence can be sent to our offices but response times may be necessarily delayed. We recommend, where at all possible, that queries or correspondence be sent to us electronically at present.
- General queries should be sent to email@example.com
- Queries relating to wildlife licensing should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queries relating to the Cessation of Turf Cutting Compensation Scheme including relocation should be sent to email@example.com
- Queries relating to raised bog restoration should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queries relating to site designation matters should be sent to email@example.com
- Queries specifically relating to science and biodiversity matters (including issues relating to the National Biodiversity Plan, biodiversity awareness and EU Regulations on invasive alien species, trade in endangered species or the Nagoya Protocol) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queries relating to CITES should be sent to email@example.com
- Queries relating to zoo licensing and inspections should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queries in relation to development applications which may impact on built and natural heritage should be sent to email@example.com
Site visits and fieldwork
Site visits and field work undertaken by our staff have been temporarily suspended in light of Government advice.
National Parks and Wildlife Service staff are an integral part of the crime prevention, investigation and prosecution architecture of the State. They are authorised officers under the Wildlife Acts and European Community (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, charged with the protection of endangered habitats, species and wildlife generally, and the investigation of suspected wildlife crime. In the context of the Covid-19 restrictions, NPWS staff are recognised as essential workers and are not confined to indoor duties. An Garda Síochána are also authorised officers under the Wildlife Acts and the 2011 Regulations and NPWS staff are liaising with them in respect of wildlife crime as appropriate.
National Parks and Nature Reserves
Our National Parks and Nature Reserves remain open for local pedestrian access, but car parks, visitor centres, information points and other facilities are temporarily closed. We encourage you to continue to enjoy these outdoor resources but we advise you to adhere to the current government guidelines relating to travel and social distancing: at this time people are being asked not to travel more than 2km from their home to visit one of our Parks or Reserves.
We remind you of the importance of adhering to current public health advice, particularly in relation to physical distancing at all times. Please ensure that you maintain a distance of 2 metres between you and others at all times. And remember that no more than four people should be in a group at any time unless all group members are from the same household.