Review of Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
December 2004, updated July 2005


Schedule 4 lists those birds which, as required by Section 7 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, must be "registered and ringed or marked in accordance with Regulations made by the Secretary of State" if kept in captivity.  This registration was originally introduced to give an extra tier of protection to Schedule 1 birds by acting as a deterrent against illegal taking and by creating a system whereby the enforcement authorities could check the legality of birds in captivity.  Later, its value as a tool to further the conservation of globally threatened bird species and UK’s international obligations was also recognised.  
In August 2002, the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Welsh Assembly initiated a public consultation on the future of Schedule 4 in England and Wales in order to ‘to reduce the regulatory burden on keepers as far as is practicable whilst ensuring that populations of indigenous wild birds can be sustained’ (the Scottish Executive chose not to participate in the consultation.) Following the public consultation on the bird registration scheme (completed in November 2002), Ministers from Defra and the Welsh Assembly invited JNCC to establish and apply scientific criteria for listing birds under Schedule 4 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act.  This review is the outcome of that process.  It was considered by the Joint Committee at their 64th meeting on September 29th 2004 and endorsed by them for submission to Government (on 23rd December 2004); subsequent editing amendments and corrections were made in July 2005 prior to public consultation by Government.
The Joint Committee and GB Country Agencies remain convinced that Schedule 4 serves an important function by:
  1. providing additional protection to species of high conservation concern;
  2. assisting in the enforcement of domestic wildlife legislation by allowing enforcement agencies to investigate suspected cases of illegal trade and illegal taking from the wild thoroughly and present evidence in court; and
  3. acting as a deterrent against illegal trade and take from the wild.
The Joint Committee again considered the review at their 76th meeting in September 2007 and endorsed the recommendations of the review.



Please cite as: JNCC, (2004), Review of Schedule 4 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, December 2004, updated July 2005