Biodiversity and Conservation Legislation


Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats This Convention requires “each Contracting Party to strictly control the introduction of non-native species” and was conduced in September 1979 and came into force on 1 June 1982.
Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals The Bonn Convention aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. It was concluded under the United Nations Environment Programme and is concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. Within the EU, the requirements of the Bonn convention are delivered through the EU Habitats Directive and its transposition into legislation within each member state. The Convention entered into force in 1983.
OSPAR Recommendation 2003/3 on a Network of Marine Protected Areas as amendedOSPAR Recommendation 2010/2 on amending Recommendation 2003/3 on a network of Marine Protected Areas The purpose of the 2003/3 Recommendation was to establish the OSPAR Network of Marine Protected Areas and ensure that by 2010 an ecologically coherent network of well managed marine protected areas were in place.  The Recommendation entered into force on 27 June 2003.  The 2003/3 Recommendations has since been amended by the 2010/2 Recommendation. The purpose of the 2010/2 Recommendation was to amend and up-date Recommendation 2003/3, and came into effect on 24 September 2010.
OSPAR Recommendation 2010/5 on the assessment of environmental impacts on threatened and/or declining species When assessments of environmental impacts of human activities that may affect the marine environment of the OSPAR maritime area are prepared, Contracting Parties should ensure they take account of the relevant species and habitats on the OSPAR List of threatened and/or declining species and habitats (OSPAR Agreement 2008-6). The Recommendation was implemented by means of administrative action.
Ramsar Convention Ramsar is the oldest of the modern global intergovernmental environmental agreements. The treaty was negotiated through the 1960s by countries and non-governmental organizations concerned about the increasing loss and degradation of wetland habitat for migratory waterbirds. It was adopted in the city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) The Convention on Biological Diversity (1992) was the first treaty to provide a legal framework for biodiversity conservation. By becoming a signatory, the UK made a commitment to implementing measures into national legislation to ensure: both the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. The Convention places a duty on government to ‘have regard’ to the conservation of biological diversity within their national context and requires the publication of a list of species and habitats which are of principle importance.  This Convention requires its contracting parties, as far as possible and appropriate, “to prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species”. The Convention also addresses liability for damage caused by introductions where insufficient or ineffective measures have been taken to eradicate them once released. The Convention was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992; entering into force on 29 December 1993.
The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets In 2010 the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, a ten-year framework to safeguard biodiversity and the benefits it provides to people. As part of the Strategic Plan, 20 targets, known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, were adopted. The 20 targets are covered under 5 strategic goals (the goals and targets can all be found in the link).  Governments signed up to the strategy will establish national targets in support of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. National Biodiversity Strategies Action Plans reflect a countries intend to fulfil the objectives of the CBD and the concrete actions it intends to take.
World Heritage Convention The World Heritage Convention was adopted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) General Conference at its 17th session in Paris on 16 November 1972. The Convention came into force in 1975. The Convention aims to promote cooperation among nations to protect heritage around the world that is of such outstanding universal value that its conservation is important for current and future generations.


Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas Concluded in 1991 as the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas (ASCOBANS) under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention); ASCOBANS came into force in 1994. An extension of the agreement area came into force which changed the name to “Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas” in 2008.
Directive 2008/56/EC on establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)) Europe’s marine resources are under threat and require cooperation and collective action to be tackled effectively. In response, the Integrated European Maritime Policy, aimed to provide a coherent framework for joined up governance of the marine environment. The EU formerly adopted the Directive in 2008.
Directive 2014/89/EU establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning The Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Directive  came into force 23 July 2014 with the intention of establishing a framework for maritime spatial planning aimed at promoting sustainable growth for marine economies, development of marine areas and sustainable use of marine resources.  Member states have to bring into force regulations necessary to comply with this directive by 18 September 2016.
EC Directive 2009/147/EC (Birds Directive) EC Directive 2009/147/EC repeals and replaces Directive 79/409/EEC and consolidates the large number of amendments. The new Directive came into force on 15 February 2010. The replacement Directive also introduces requirements for specific actions on biodiversity as described in Decision No 1600/2002/EC. The Directive produces a framework for the conservation and management of human interactions with wild birds in Europe. The Directive sets out a broad spectrum of objectives for each although the precise legal mechanisms are at the discretion of the Member States. The Birds Directive also sets up a system of conservation designations for Special Protection Areas (SPAs) along the lines of SACs under the Habitats Directive. Together SPAs and SACs form the Natura 2000 network.
EC Directive 92/43/EC (Habitats Directive) Commonly referred to as the ‘Habitats Directive’ (together with the Birds Directive) ; the 1992 Habitats Directive forms the cornerstone of Europe’s nature conservation policy. The Habitats Directive aims to “contribute towards ensuring biodiversity through the conservation of natural habitats and of the wild fauna and flora”. The central component of the Habitats Directive is the creation of the Natura 2000 network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) (also see Birds Directive). Once an SAC is established member states should ensure the protection and restoration of the sites in accordance with Article 6 outlining the minimum conservation measures to be ensured. The Regulations came into force on 30 October 1994
The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 The European Commission adopted the strategy to halt the loss of biodiversity and improve the state of Europe’s species, habitats, ecosystems and the services they provide, while stepping up the EU’s contribution to averting global biodiversity loss. The Strategy focuses on six major targets to address the main pressures on nature and ecosystem services in the EU and beyond, and lays down the policy foundations for EU-level action over the period of the strategy.  The EU Biodiversity Strategy was adopted on 3 May 2011.
Bat Habitats Regulation (No. 2) Bill This Bill makes provisions to enhance the protection available for bat habitats in the non built up environment and to limit the protection for bat habitats in the built up environment where the presence of bats has a significant adverse impact upon the users of buildings.
Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 The Act of 2000, which received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000, making new provisions for public access to the countryside, to amend the law relating to public rights of way, to enable traffic regulation orders to be made for the purpose of conserving an area’s natural beauty, to make provisions with respect to the driving of mechanically propelled vehicles elsewhere than on roads, to amend the law relating to nature conservation and the protection of wildlife, to make further provision with respect to, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and for connected purposes.
Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act (2000) (England and Wales) The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW) received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000 and applies to England and Wales only.
Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2015/1937 Applying to Wales only these regulations amend the Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations SI 2009/995 by: • amending the definition of ‘natural habitat’ (regulation 2(1)); • updating references to legislation under which damage to protected species and natural habitats (Schedule 2); and • damage on a site of special scientific interest (Schedule 1), can be authorised
Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations SI 2015/1756 Laid before the Parliament on the 9th October 2015, these Regulations came into force on the 30th October 2015 and apply to England and Wales only. The amendments give regulators more powers so they can now serve a suspension notice where it considers that there has been a contravention of an environmental permit condition and such contravention involves a risk of pollution. This suspension notice suspends an environmental permit. Regulators may also arrange for the removal of risks of ‘serious pollution’ at permitted or exempt facilities; and a previous requirement for application to the High Court to secure compliance with notices issued is removed before compliance with a notice may be enforced.
Environmental Regulation (Enforcement Measures) (Scotland) Order SSI 2015/383 This regulation entered into force on the 12th November 2015, under the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 which aims to introduce various measures to improve the way legislation is developed and applied throughout Scotland.
Environment (Wales) Act 2016 anaw 3 This Act became law on the 2nd February 2016 and applies to Wales only.  It includes responsibilities on various topics including climate change, collection and disposal of waste, and marine licensing are detailed by this act and mechanisms for the National Assembly of Wales are established.
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (England and Wales) This Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (England and Wales only), came into force on 1 Oct 2006, made provision about bodies concerned with the natural environment and rural communities; to make provision in connection with wildlife, SSSIs, National Parks and the Broads; to amend the law relating to rights of way; to make provision as to the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council; to provide for flexible administrative arrangements in connection with functions relating to the environment and rural affairs and certain other functions; and for connected purposes.
Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 Cited as the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, this Act received Royal Assent on 11 June 2004.
Protection of Seals (Designation of Haul-Out Sites) (Scotland) Amendment Order SSI 2017/63 This Order amends the Protection of Seals (Designation of Haul-Out Sites) (Scotland) Order SSI 2014/185 by adding designated haul out sites.
Scotland’s National Marine Plan The National Marine Plan was adopted on 25 March 2015 and laid before Parliament on 27 March 2015. This Plan covers the management of both Scottish inshore waters (out to 12 nautical miles) and offshore waters (12 to 200 nautical miles). It also applies to the exercise of both reserved and devolved functions. This Plan has been prepared in accordance with the EU Directive 2014/89/EU which came into force in July 2014.
The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2012 The 2012 amendment is the latest update to The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1995, which came into force on the 29 October 2012 and apply to Northern Ireland only. The 1995 Regulations (and resulting amendments) implement the EC Habitat Directive within Northern Ireland.
The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2008 These Regulations may be cited as the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2008 and came into force on 25 February 2008.
The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2012 These Regulations amend the Conservation (Natural Habitat &c.) Regulations 1994, and therefore extend to Scotland only.  The 2012 Regulations came into force on the 16 August 2012, imposing new duties on public bodies in relation to wild bird habitat, that require Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to review and report on whether these obligations have been met.
The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended) The 1994 Regulations (as amended) implement the species protection requirements of the Habitat Directive in Scotland (only) on land and inshore waters (0-12 nautical miles).  There have been several amendments to the regulations which apply to Scotland only, the latest amendment came into force on 16 August 2012.  Thus the Scottish Regulations do not mirror the 2010 Regulations (The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulation 2010), which apply to England and Wales only.
The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations SI 2017/1012 These regulations replace the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 which are revoked.  This is to consolidate the numerous amendments that have been made to the Regulations.  Several amendments have also been made.  These Regulations are relevant to England and Wales.
The Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations SI 2017/1013 These Regulations consolidate the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1842) with subsequent amending instruments and make minor modifications reflecting changes to related legislation.
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 This piece of legislation provides the legal mechanism to help ensure clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environments, managed to meet the long term needs of both nature and people, by putting in place a new system for improved management and protection of the marine and coastal environment. Amongst other powers, from 2010, the Legislation enables Scottish Ministers to designate a range of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across Scottish territorial waters: of most relevance to the biodiversity agenda will be the Nature Conservation MPAs – for the conservation of Scotland’s most important marine biodiversity and geodiversity features. The Marine Scotland Act received Royal Assent on 10 March 2010.
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2010 This legislation extends the requirement for public authorities to make decisions in accordance with marine plans and also allows Scottish Marine Enforcement Officers to exercise powers outside the Scottish Marine Area. This Order entered into service on 31 December 2010.
The Nature Conservation Act (Scotland) 2004 An Act of the Scottish Parliament making provision in relation to the conservation of biodiversity, to make further provisions in relation to the conservation and enhancement of Scotland’s natural beauty, to amend the law relating to the protection of certain birds, animals and plants, and for connected purposes which received Royal Assent on 11 June 2004.
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (Authorised Operations) Order 2016 Laid before the Scottish Parliament on 25th January 2016, these regulations enter into force on 3rd March 2016.
The Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation Habitats) Regulations 2001 The Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 The 2001 Regulations of the same name applies the Habitats Directive and the Wild Birds Directive in relation to oil and gas plans and projects wholly or partially on the UK continental shelf and adjacent waters outside territorial waters (UKCS). Any plan or project which that would be likely to have a significant effect on a designated site must be subject to Habitats Regulatory Assessment of its implications for the site’s conservation objectives. The 2001 Regulations came into force on the 31 May 2001.  The 2007 amendment to the 2001 Regulations extended the requirement for obtaining consent for carrying out geological surveys in the UKCS, this includes prior consent before testing the equipment required to undertake these surveys in relations to oil and gas activities.  The 2007 Amendment entered into force on 18 February 2007.
The Protection of Badgers Act (1992) An Act to consolidate the Badgers Act 1973, the Badgers Act 1991 and the Badgers (Further Protection) Act 1991 which came into force in 1992.
The Scottish Marine Regions Order 2015 Came into force on the 13th May 2015. This Order which is made under section 5 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, makes provision in connection with Scottish marine regions. They are areas for which Scottish Ministers may prepare and adopt a regional marine plan.
The UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework Following the establishment of devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in 1998, responsibility for the environment and biodiversity is primarily at the country level.  The country strategies for biodiversity and the environment in each of the four countries of the UK underpin the ‘UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework’, published in July 2012, which supersedes The UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) 1994.  The Framework covers the period from 2011 to 2020, and was developed in response to two main drivers:  the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020; and the EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Amendment) (Wales) Regulations 2004Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Amendment) Scotland Regulations 2001Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (England and Wales) Amendment Regulations 2004 The Wildlife and Countryside Act received Royal Assent on 30 October 1981 and is supplemented by the Wildlife and Countryside (Service of Notices) Act 1985, which relates to notices served under the 1981 Act.  The Act 1981 (as amended) provides the main piece of primary legislation making provision for nature conservation in the UK.  A number of key amendments have been made to the 1981 Act, these are: Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1985 and the Wildlife and Countryside (Amendment) Act 1991.
Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 The Scottish Government introduced the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act in 2011 to make the law on wildlife and the natural environment more efficient, effective and proportionate. The Act which came into force on 7 April, supports sustainable economic activity, particularly in the countryside, and to preserve the natural environment for the benefit of the public and many rural businesses.