Our project is located in the west of Ireland. The project is a warehouse extension (a single LEED project) on an existing commercial campus, and the entire campus is the same owner/occupier. Part of the land on the campus is an EU designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
Special Areas of Conservation are prime wildlife conservation areas, considered to be important at national as well as at European level. SACs are selected and designated according to Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly known as the Habitats Directive. This Directive was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Natural Habitats) Regulations 1997 – 2005 and the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011. Sites designated as SACs contribute to the preservation of endangered habitats or species as listed in Annex I (habitats) and Annex II (species) of the Directive.
The owner has demonstrated a long-term commitment to this area, and this area and its conservation is included in forward planning documents. For example, there is a commitment to raise the biodiversity index to triple the FY2005 level by FY2020.
The area of the SAC exceeds the LEED project site area. The SAC is adjacent to the LEED project, and has not been claimed for any other LEED project.
We would like to use an ACP to claim that area for the LEED project as off-site restoration. Does anyone have any experience or thoughts as to whether the EU regulation would be seen as equivalent to Land Trust Standards? The project owner has significant documentation to show studies and conservation work in the SAC. Related, would the extent of this conservation work make this credit a possibility for an Innovation credit?
Any advice appreciated!