Species protection and legislation

The legislation in the United Kingdom provides for the protection of certain species of wild plants, birds and animals at all times; some species of bird are protected at certain times of the year only, while certain methods of taking or killing wild animals and birds are prohibited.
The legislative provisions in Great Britain for the protection of wild animals are contained primarily in the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, Sections 9-12, the wild animals which are protected are listed in Schedules 5-7 of the Act and the provisions for the granting of licenses and enforcement are set out in Sections 16-27.  In England and Wales, enforcement provisions were extended and some amendments for protection made by the Countryside Rights of Access Act 2000 (CRoW act) Section 81 and Schedule 12.   In Scotland, enforcement provisions were extended and some amendments for protection made by Section 50 and Schedule 6 of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004.  Specific legislation for protecting badgers is provided by the Badgers Act, 1992 (amended, for Scotland, by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004), for wild deer in the Deer Act, 1963 (amended by the Deer Act, 1991), and for seals in the Conservation of Seals Act 1970. The close season for seals in (some areas of) Scotland was extended by the Conservation of Seals (Scotland) Order 2002. In Northern Ireland, the legal provisions are set out in the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order, 1985 (amended 1995), Articles 10-13 and 16-29, and the protected wild animals are listed on Schedules 5-7. The protection of European animal species in Great Britain is covered by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations, 1994, Part II, Regulations 38-41 and Schedules 2-3 and in Northern Ireland provisions for European species are laid down in the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) Regulations (NI) 1995, Part II, Regulations 33-36 and Schedules 2-3. Whaling in UK waters is prohibited by the Whaling Industry (Regulations) Act 1934, as amended by the Fishing Limits Act, 1981.

JNCC has collated information on conservation designations for UK taxa, and the list is available to download as a spreadsheet.