This Act aims to protect wild birds, plants, animals, areas of nature conservation and public rights of way. The Act forms the basis of most statutory wildlife protection in the UK.
Part I deals with the protection of birds, animals and plants.
Part II is concerned mainly with the designation and protection of areas of nature conservation and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Act makes it an offence (subject to exceptions) to intentionally kill, injure, or take, possess, or trade in any wild animal listed in Schedule 5, and prohibits interference with places used for shelter or protection, or intentionally disturbing animals occupying such places.
The Act also prohibits certain methods of killing, injuring, or taking wild animals. The Act aims to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica). It is illegal to plant or otherwise encourage its growth.
The Regulations amend the definition of "wild bird" in section 27 of the Act which now includes any species which is ordinarily resident in or is a visitor to the European Territory of any member State. Regulation 3 makes consequential changes to the defence provided under section 1(3) of the Act. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedule 5) (England) Order 2008 adds 4 new species to Schedule5 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) and extends the current protection afforded to the water vole. Exceptions to these prohibitions may be authorised by licence issued under section 16 of the WCA by Natural England.
The company must ensure that any works carried out follows this regulation and does not affect the habitat of the surrounding wildlife.
Exemptions occur in circumstances of protection, accident or "act of kindness" for animals. Also, there are exemptions outside of the "closed period" with respect to killing certain animals. Other exemptions also apply as listed in the full documentation.
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