Appropriate Assessment

An Appropriate Assessment (AA) is an assessment of the potential adverse effects of a plan or project (in combination with other plans or projects) on Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas. These sites are protected by National and European Law.

The AA GeoTool application can assist with the data gathering process for Stage 1 and Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) have worked together to develop the AA GeoTool and the application uses data provided by the NPWS.

The AA GeoTool allows the user to select a point on the map and then search for SACs and SPAs within a defined distance and/ or upstream/ downstream of the point. The distance selected by the user is dependent on the level of potential environmental impact from a plan or project. The information gathered for each European Site located within the selected distance range includes the following:

  • 1. site type, e.g., SAC or SPAli>
  • 2. unique site code for the site
  • 3. site name
  • 4. distance of the site from the users selected starting point
  • 5. search direction selected by user
  • 6. list of Qualifying Interests for each site
  • 7. Url link to the conservation objectives for each site (link to NPWS website)

For instructions on how to use the tool please refer to the User guide, accessible through the Help button in the application or directly here

Further information on specific European Sites can be found on the NPWS website..

The Northern Ireland European Sites are not currently included in this application. For more information on the Northern Ireland European Sites please consult the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs website.

Intensive Agriculture and Appropriate Assessment
The EPA has published a guidance document on how applicants should assess the predicted impact of air emissions, as part of the licence application process, under classes 6.1 and 6.2 of the First Schedule of the Environmental Protection Agency Acts 1992 as amended. It provides instructions on the steps needed to determine the information required to allow for an AA stage 1 screening process and where necessary, a Stage 2 AA assessment for European Sites. This guidance can be found here..

Appropriate Assessment Overview
The requirement for "Appropriate Assessment" is set out in Articles 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The Habitats Directive is transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 as amended (hereafter referred to as the Habitats Regulations).

European Sites are defined in Regulation 2(1) of the Habitats Regulations and comprise Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), at all stages of designation commencing with the Minister's notice of intention to designate. Regulation 42 of the Habitats Regulations requires the EPA to undertake Stage 1 Screening for Appropriate Assessment (AA) and where necessary Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment of any plan or project for which an application for consent is received.


The AA GeoTool is a data gathering tool only and does not intend to replace the assessment element of any part of the AA process. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information provided by the AA GeoTool, it is not possible to guarantee that it is accurate in all cases. Accordingly, it is recommended that you obtain a copy of the original documentation on which the information is based and verify its accuracy. The EPA will not be held responsible for any decisions made based on the information displayed in this tool.

Before proceeding to the AA GeoTool, please tick the box below to confirm that you have read the above information.