Foreshore Licensing and Process

The foreshore is the seabed and shore below the line of high water of ordinary or medium tides and extends outwards to the limit of twelve nautical miles (approximately 22 to 24 km).

The Foreshore Acts require that a lease or licence must be obtained from the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government for State-owned foreshore if:

  • carrying out works or
  • placing structures or material on, or 
  • for the occupation of or
  • removal of material from,

Developments on privately owned foreshore also requires the prior permission of the Minister under the Foreshore Acts. (All the foreshore of Ireland is presumed state-owned unless valid alternative title is provided.)

Marine Planning and Foreshore Section administers applications for consent under the Foreshore Act. The service may be availed of by formally making an application for consent on the application form provided by the Section. An application must be accompanied by the materials necessary to support the application and to allow a full assessment of the proposal, such as an environmental impact statement and/or natura impact statement where required, maps, plans, or any other information which the Minister may require to fully assess the application.

The Minister may grant consent for development where it is considered to be in the public interest, subject to environmental assessment and agreement on the terms of the property contract to be entered into with the applicant.

Further information on requirements for development on the foreshore can be found on this link.




Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is the process by which the anticipated effects on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured.

If the likely effects are unacceptable, design measures or other relevant mitigation measures can be taken to reduce or avoid those effects.The document from this process is called an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Projects listed in Annex I have mandatory EIA requirements. The Planning Authority makes decisions on a case-by-case basis on whether Annex II projects require an EIA.Thresholds have been set for Annex II projects. But even projects which do not meet the threshold may require an EIA.

EIA requirements in Ireland are incorporated into planning laws and other infrastructural consent systems.

For guidance on EIA requirements please visit the EPA website at this link.

An Appropriate Assessment (AA) is required if development is planned in or adjacent to a Natura 2000 site.

The obligation to undertake appropriate assessment derives from Article 6(3) and 6(4) of the Habitats Directive, and both involve a number of steps and tests that need to be applied in sequential order. 

Each step in the assessment process precedes and provides a basis for other steps. The results at each step must be documented and recorded carefully so there is full traceability and transparency of the decisions made.

They also determine the decisions that ultimately may be made in relation to approval or refusal of a plan or project. AA is not a prohibition on new development or activities but involves a case-by-case examination of the implications for the Natura 2000 site and its conservation objectives.

In general terms, implicit in Article 6(3) is an obligation to put concern for potential effects on Natura 2000 sites at the forefront of every decision made in relation to plans and projects at all stages, including decisions to provide funding or other support.

Not all developments will require an AA, however it is important that developers are aware of the potential requirement. The National Parks and Wildlife Services provide advice on AA and Marine Natura Impact Statements. Please visit their website by clicking here



Foreshore Unit,

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government,

Newtown Road,


Co. Wexford,


Tel: +353-53-9117365