As part of our commitment to continually improve our service and to help our clients meet their legal obligations, we continue to update the Legal Registers on our website and provide free quarterly legal compliance updates to anyone who subscribes. The purpose of these updates is to ensure you stay up to date with any changes in your legal compliance obligations, our updates can also be kept and can be used as evidence that your business is staying up to date with any changes in the legislation, this can be very helpful at audit time.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is an Act of Parliament implemented to comply with European Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds. In short, the act gives protection to native species (especially those at threat), controls the release of non-native species, enhances the protection of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and builds upon the rights of way rules in the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
This Act aims to protect wild birds, plants, animals, areas of nature conservation and public rights of way. The Act forms the basis of most statutory wildlife protection in the UK.
Part I deals with the protection of birds, animals and plants.
Part II is concerned mainly with the designation and protection of areas of nature conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Act makes it an offence (subject to exceptions) to intentionally kill, injure, or take, possess, or trade-in any wild animal listed in Schedule 5, and prohibits interference with places used for shelter or protection, or intentionally disturbing animals occupying such places.
The Act also prohibits certain methods of killing, injuring, or taking wild animals. The Act aims to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). It is illegal to plant or otherwise encourage its growth.
The Regulations amend the definition of "wild bird" in section 27 of the Act which now includes any species which is ordinarily resident in or is a visitor to the European Territory of any member State. Regulation 3 makes consequential changes to the defence provided under section 1(3) of the Act. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedule 5) (England) Order 2008 adds 4 new species to Schedule5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) and extends the current protection afforded to the water vole. Exceptions to these prohibitions may be authorised by a license issued under section 16 of the WCA by Natural England.
The company must ensure that any work carried out follows this regulation and does not affect the habitat of the surrounding wildlife.
Exemptions occur in circumstances of protection, accident or "act of kindness" for animals. Also, there are exemptions outside of the "closed period" with respect to killing certain animals. Other exemptions also apply as listed in the full legislation.
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Including our quarterly legal compliance updates that are a great resource for evidence for your ISO audits.