Protecting species under threat - Sixth Quinquennial Review


Every five years, the statutory nature conservation bodies in Great Britain - Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage - working jointly through JNCC, are required to review Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and to make recommendations to Government for changes to these schedules. The review is a collaborative process which identifies the level of threat faced by a species and the benefits gained from subsequent listing under the Regulations.


Schedule 5 contains a list of animals (other than birds) and Schedule 8 a list of plant species, both of which are afforded special protection from specific human activities, including persecution (intentional killing or injuring, or reckless disturbance), collection (including possession of live or dead specimens, and their parts and derivatives) and trade. They also provide protection against disturbance, and obstruction or damage to any structure or place of shelter which is regarded as essential to the survival of the species concerned (for example nests, burrows or other resting sites).


Otter (Lutra lutra) © Lynn M. Stone/

Examples of species listed on these schedules include the otter (Lutra lutra), the large copper butterfly (Lycaena dispar), the freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera), the meadow clary (Salvia pratensis) and the churchyard lecanactis lichen (Lecanactis hemisphaerica).


Recommendations may include the addition of species to the schedules, which can offer full or partial protection depending on the type of threat that has been identified and the level of protection that is required (for example, protection from disturbance and obstruction at their place of shelter only). Alternatively, recommendations may be made to reduce the level of protection provided under the Regulations or to remove the species from the schedules if their conservation status has sufficiently improved and the species is no longer threatened.


An internal consultation is underway to draw up a shortlist of species recommendations for submission to the inter-agency Chief Scientists Group.  A wider consultation of all stakeholders is planned over a 12-month period, after which JNCC and the nature conservation bodies will assess the species proposals and the scientific evidence underpinning them, before drawing together a final list of species proposals (and the associated scientific justification) for formal submission to Defra. The process is expected to conclude by late 2014.



Contact File


Nichola Burnett

Senior Conservation Adviser

Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866817


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