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Areas of Special Scientific Interest


Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) are areas of land that have been identified by scientific survey as being of the highest degree of conservation value. They have a well-defined boundary and by and large remain in private ownership. The underlying philosophy is to achieve conservation by co-operation and in this, the part played by landowners is fully recognised and appreciated.

The law relating to ASSIs is contained in the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002. NIEA must, as required by the law laid down in the Order, declare land as ASSIs if it is of special scientific interest because of the flora or fauna that is found on it, or because of geological features.


Map showing areas of special scientific interest in Northern Ireland Lough Neagh Lough Doo Montiaghs Moss Portmore Lough Slievenacloy Leathemstown Inner Belfast Lough Outer Belfast Lough Ballymacormick Point Craigantlet Whitespots  Scrabo Strangford Lough Part 1 (North) Strangford Lough Part 3 Strangford Lough Part 2 Tieveshilly  Ballyquintin Point Killard  Ballycam  Carrowcarlin  Loughkeelan  Loughmoney  Ballynagross Lower  Corbally Ballykilbeg Quoile  Turmennan Heron and Carrigullian Loughs Aughnadarragh Woodgrange Black Lough Murlough Ballybannan Eastern Mournes Carlingford Rostrevor Greenan Lough Greenan Derryleckagh Castle Engian Moyrourkan Lough Loughaveely  Slieve Gullion  Cashel Loughs  Drumlougher Lough  Drumcarn  Crossbane Lough Straghans Lough  Kiltubbrid Loughs Annacramph Meadows Benburb Glenmore Wood  Fardross Stream Slieve Beagh Drumacrittin Lough  Annachullion Lough  Burdautien Lough  Summerhill Lough  Kilroosky Lough  Knockballymore Lough  Finn Floods  Upper Lough Erne - Galloon  Upper Lough Erne - Crom Upper Lough Erne - Trannish  Upper Lough Erne - Belleisle Inishroosk  Killymackan Lough  Moninea Bog  Knockninny Hill Corraslough Point Mill Lough  Bellanaleck  Tattenamona Bog Cuilcagh Mountain Cladagh (Swanlinbar) River Kilnameel  Tullysranadeega Carrickbrawn  Boho  Fardrum & Roosky Turloughs Horse Island Beagh Big  The Cliffs of Magho Monawilkin Largalinny Braade  Glennasheevar  Lergan  Ground Bridge Garvros  Lough Melvin  Moneendogue  Drumlisaleen  Magheramenagh  Pettigoe Plateau Tullanaguiggy  Straduff  Essan Burn and Mullyfamore  Fairy Water Bogs  Tully Bog  Cranny Bogs Tonnagh Beg Bog  Deroran Bog Dernish Island Limehill Farm  Bardahessiagh  Little River  Ballysudden  Upper Ballinderry River Black Bog  Teal Lough and Slaghtfreeden Bogs  Teal Lough Part II Crockaghole Wood  Ballynahone Curran Bog Toome Lough Beg Lackan Bog Culnafay Drumlea and Mullan Woods Owenkillew & Glenelly Woods  Grange Wood  Moneygal Bog Strabane Glen McKeans McKeans Silverbrook Corbylin Ervey Ness Wood Banagher Altmover Bovevagh Ballyknock Lough Foyle Magilligan Altkeeragh Dead Island Wolf Island Larne Lough North Woodburn Portmuck Waterloo Scawthill Glenarm Straidkilly Glen Burn Cleggan Garron Gortnagory Blackburn Glenariff Tievebulliagh Frosses Caldanagh Dunloy Garry Bog Garry Bog Breen Wood Tow River Ballycastle Coalfield Rathlin Island Coast Rathlin Island Ballycarry Rathlin Island Ballygill North Rathlin Island  Kinramer South Carrickarade Sheep Island White Park Runkerry Portbalintrae White Rocks Ramore Head Craighulliar Giants Causeway Bienvenagh Hollymount Moneygal Bog Pt2  Bann Estuary Peatlands Park West Fermanagh Scarplands Owenkillew River  Castletown Ballynanaghten Tullyard ASSI  Carrickastickan  Tullybrick Lough Fymore Lough Cullentra Lough Outer Ards  Tully Hill Levalleymore Derryvore Selshan Bog Carn/Glenshane

NB. Although ASSIs on the map are indicated by dots, some of these, in particular rivers and loughs, will cover quite an extensive geographical area, examples would be Lough Neagh which takes in the whole expanse of the lough and it's shoreline and the River Foyle and it's tributaries which stretches from Magheramason to Killeter Forest.

When an ASSI is declared, owners and occupiers receive a list of notifiable operations. These are activities which the Department considers might harm the nature conservation interest of the site. Should a landowner wish to carry out a notifiable operation and the Department judges it to be incompatible with the conservation interest, the Department may offer to enter into a management agreement, with the possibility of payments on conclusion of the negotiations.

ASSI Documents

Download A Forward Programme for the Declaration of Areas of Special Scientific Interest in Northern Ireland (.PDF 146Kb) Opens in New window
(Please note that this document was written in March 2003 and as such some references contained in it are no longer relevant or up to date.)

Download Managing Natura 2000 Sites (.PDF 787Kb)

Download Assessment of plans and projects significantly affecting Natura 2000 sites (.PDF 670Kb)