Protection of County Geological Sites

Protection of County Geological Sites

​County Geological Sites should be included in County Development Plans and County Heritage Plans. Due regard should be given to sites of geological importance at all stages of planning, particularly in the development of quarries, wind farms and roads.  If in doubt about County Geological Sites, please read the information on this page, the dedicated Planning section or contact Geoheritage at the Geological Survey Ireland. 


Geology is recognised as an intrinsic component of natural heritage in three separate pieces of legislation or regulations, which empower and require various branches of Government and statutory agencies to consult and take due regard for conservation of geological heritage features. These are:


  • Planning and Development Act 2000 [e.g. Sections 212 (1)f; Part IV, 6; First Schedule Condition 21],
  • Planning and Development Regulations 2001,
  • Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000 [enabling Natural Heritage Areas]


The Planning and Development Act 2000 and the Planning Regulations, in particular, place responsibility upon Local Authorities to ensure that geological heritage is protected.

Implementation of the Heritage Act 1995, through Heritage Officers and Heritage Plans, and the National Heritage Plan 2002, recognise County Geological Sites and allow them to be integrated into County Development Plans.

UNESCO Global Geopark status does not carry additional legislation in relation to planning.

Inclusion in Planning

The presence of County Geological Sites should always be considered  when planning any kind of development as they are of national scientific and heritage importance.  

County Geological Site locations are now available online on the GSI online mapping service under the "Geological Heritage" tab. For counties where the County Audit has taken place, these sites are of County Geological Sites (CGS) status and are covered by protection policy under the current relevant County Development Plan. For the remaining counties, a buffer has been applied to each site of geological interest. Please bear in mind that since these sites have not been audited yet, information is sporadic and the location has yet to be confirmed.

Most of the time, developments are likely to enhance exposure of an existing geological site. Consultation with Geoheritage will provide an opportunity to propose mitigation measures and/or alternative, should geological heritage be likely to be impacted by the project. 

If you have any question in relation to CGS sites and planning, please contact us.


Quarrying Guidelines

The Irish Concrete Federation and the Geological Survey Ireland developed a set of guidelines for the quarrying industry entitled 'Geological Heritage Guidelines for the Extractive Industry'. They include possible end of quarry life recommendations.

Download Guidelines