Environmental Policies

Mountaineering Ireland's Vision for the Future of Ireland's Mountains and Upland Areas

In March 2017, following a process of member consultation, Mountaineering Ireland agreed its vision for the future of Ireland’s mountains and upland areas - that Ireland’s mountains will be valued and protected as environmental, cultural and recreational assets. To achieve this, Mountaineering Ireland will work with others who share a concern for Ireland’s upland areas to highlight the many benefits these areas provide to society and to emphasise the need for integrated policy measures focused on protecting upland landscapes, maintaining communities and rewarding sustainable farming practices. 

Mountaineering Ireland encourages its clubs and individual members to celebrate Ireland’s mountains and upland areas, to show that these areas are special and worthy of greater attention and investment, and that they must be conserved and looked after for the benefit of future generations.

Read the full Vision document here

A summary of the Vision is available here

Mountaineering Ireland's environmental policies 

The Irish upland environment is limited in physical extent and very fragile in its nature. Our upland areas are frequently subject to use and development pressures inappropriate to their character. Some protection exists for areas designated as Special Areas of Conservation, Natural Heritage Areas or National Parks, which should be extended where feasible. To promote the protection of all Irish upland areas Mountaineering Ireland has developed policies, agreed with its members, upon which to base responses and action in relation to unwelcome developments. 
In recent years the number of participants in hillwalking and mountaineering activities has increased substantially. This in itself can be a source of stress to certain upland environments. Consequently, responsible use of the uplands by recreational visitors is fundamental to our policies. The other key objectives of the policy are the importance of valuing and protecting our upland landscape and ensuring sustainability of local communities. 
The scope of these policies extends to land above 300m and associated ‘wilderness’ or semi-wild landscapes; crags, quarries and other climbing areas; sea cliffs, hills and other areas frequented by Mountaineering Ireland members, including access to these areas. Just under six percent of our island exceeds 300m in elevation and this we define as Uplands. Some one-tenth of the Irish uplands are higher than 500m, in general these are the Mountain areas. 

The principle aims of these policies are:

To conserve the areas within our scope and their flora, fauna, archaeology and heritage
To ensure reasonable access for responsible recreational users
To cooperate with reasonable, sustainable and appropriate development in these areas.
Each policy describes one of the principal matters of environmental concern to Mountaineering Ireland and sets out the policies in relation to that issue:
  1. Access 
  2. Path Erosion 
  3. Organised Events in the Mountains 
  4. Agriculture 
  5. Forestry 
  6. Transport and Off-Road Vehicles 
  7. Built Development 
  8. Litter, Waste and Illegal Dumping 

Download the policies here

Policy Implementation – Mountaineering Ireland will:

  • Promote the enjoyment, protection, wise and safe recreational use of the Irish uplands
  • Lobby for and co-operate with National Policies of amenity area conservation
  • Consult with club committees in the relevant areas as issues arise
  • Encourage clubs to publicise and discuss issues
  • Seek to promote discussion and awareness of issues
  • Seek to influence public opinion on issues as appropriate
  • Work towards a management policy for planned areas agreed between all interested parties
  • Co-operate with appropriate groups in Ireland and abroad to exchange information and work for common aims in keeping with Mountaineering Ireland's policy.