CHAPTER 1 BATS AND THE LAW 12 Assembly for Wales Countryside Division or the Environment & Heritage Service (Northern Ireland). These departments also issue licences under the Habitats Regulations to permit otherwise prohibited acts where this is considered to be for imperative reasons of overriding public interest (primarily development. Licences can only be issued when there is no satisfactory alternative and when the action authorised will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the populations of the species concerned at favourable conservation status in their natural range. Note that these arrangements are subject to change. Acts or operations that take place on a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) (Areas of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI in Northern Ireland) are covered by Part II of the Wildlife & Countryside Act. The SNCOs have a particular role in the enforcement of this part of the legislation and should be contacted if you believe something illegal is taking place. This is only a general and simplified guide to the main provisions of the law. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (and its amendments, the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Conservation (Natural Habitats, c) Regulations, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Actor the equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland should be consulted for further details. Bats are similarly protected in all other parts of the British Isles. Information on bat protection in the Republic of Ireland can be obtained from National Parks & Wildlife, Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government, 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2 and in the Isle of Man from DAFF, Knockaloe Farm, Peel, Isle of Man IM5 3AJ. Information on bat protection and the law in the UK is contained in various leaflets, which are available from the SNCOs: English Nature – Focus on bats and Bats in roofs a guide for surveyors; Scottish Natural Heritage – Bats and people; Countryside Council for Wales – Ystlumod, Bats; The Environment and Heritage Service (Northern Ireland) – Focus on Bats.