Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Conservation and biodiversity legislation

Conservation and biodiversity legislation

This page provides links to the full text of key pieces of environmental legislation relating to conservation and biodiversity. The websites hosting the legislation may list amendments separately.

If you are setting up an environmental management system (EMS) for your business, you can use this list to start compiling your legal register. Your legal adviser or environmental consultant will be able to tell you if other environmental legislation applies to your specific business.

Environmental management systems and environmental reports

Northern Ireland conservation and biodiversity legislation

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 1995/380 Part of the legal framework set up to conserve natural habitats and wild flora and fauna.

Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 SI 2007/345 Makes technical changes to the way that government authorities carry out their duties.

Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/252 Requires polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, protected sites, species and their habitats.

Environment (Northern Ireland) Order SI 2002/3153 Covers environmental issues, including pollution prevention and control, assessment and management of air quality, and designation of areas of special scientific interest.

European Community Regulation 338/1997 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade (Wildlife Trade Regulation).Protects species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade in these species.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Covers biodiversity, pesticides harmful to wildlife and the protection of birds.

Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1985/170. Establishes the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside and sets out the Department of the Environment's rights and duties to protect and enhance sites of natural beauty or special scientific interest.

Marine (Northern Ireland) Act 2013 Establishes a strategic system of marine planning in Northern Ireland’s inshore region (out to 12 nautical miles). Contains provisions allowing the Department of the Environment to designate marine conservation zones. Assists in the delivery of a modernised licensing and enforcement regime.

Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. Amends the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985 and the Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 and adds new provisions to protect a greater range of plants, animals, birds and to increase protection to Areas of Special Scientific Interest. Gives enforcement authorities new powers and sanctions against wildlife crime.

Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1985/171. Makes it an offence to interfere with certain species of wild animals and plants, with certain exceptions, which require a licence. It also specifies open and closed periods for hunting of limited species, with special protection for deer.

Scotland conservation and biodiversity legislation

Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations SI 1994/2716. Part of the legal framework set up to conserve natural habitats and wild fauna and flora.

Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2009/266. Requires polluters to prevent and repair damage to water systems, land quality, protected sites, species and their habitats.

European Community Regulation 338/1997 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade (Wildlife Trade Regulation). Protects species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade in these species.

Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. Establishes a right to be on land for recreational, educational and some other purposes and to cross land (right to roam) if exercised responsibly. It also details how rural and crofting organisations may buy land they are connected with.

Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Introduces a system for managing and protecting the marine environment, including new marine planning and marine licensing systems, and marine conservation orders.

National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000. Establishes National Parks in Scotland, including setting up National Park Authorities, their powers, finances and 'management agreements' between National Park Authority landowners or occupiers.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Covers biodiversity, pesticides harmful to wildlife and the protection of birds.

Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991. Establishes Scottish Natural Heritage as the main body responsible for securing and promoting the conservation of Scotland's natural scenery, flora and fauna.

Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. Deals with conserving biodiversity and protecting and enhancing Scotland's natural features. It also amends the rules on protecting certain birds, animals and plants.

Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act 2002. Makes it illegal to hunt a wild mammal with a dog, for example fox and deer hunting with a pack, or a landowner/occupier to knowingly allow someone to hunt a wild mammal with a dog on their land, or a dog's owner to knowingly allow someone to use it for hunting.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Bans certain methods of killing or taking wild animals, including birds, and restricts the introduction and sale of certain non-native animals and plants.

Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011. Amends several acts to introduce tougher powers against wildlife crimes. Imposes stricter regulations on animal snares, including the training of operators. Landowners may be made accountable if their employees kill or take a wild bird.

Environmental News Blog

  • BREXIT 'No Deal' Guidance, With BREXIT approaching and no sign of a deal there is some uncertainty surrounding what could happen to regulations and legislation.

  • Leftovers are ‘Good to Go’ this Festive Season, Our green ‘Good to Go’ scheme lets your customers know that their leftovers can be boxed up and sent home with them to be eaten later by the Christmas tree.

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