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In Britain, The Wildlife and Countryside (WCA) 1981 (as amended) is the principle legislation protecting habitats and species. Schedule 12 of The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000 strengthens the species enforcement provisions of the WCA by the introduction of a new offence of 'reckless' disturbance of certain listed birds and animals at their nest, place of rest or shelter.

The CRoW Act 2000 also places a duty on local authorities and other public bodies to have regard for the conservation of biodiversity and maintain lists of species and habitats for which conservation measures should be taken or promoted.

Section 40 of The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 extends the biodiversity duty of local authorities and other public bodies set out in the CRow Act. It states that "Every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity".

Male great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

Under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 the Secretary of State was required to publish a list of habitats and species which are of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity in England. The list of Habitats and Species of Principle Importance in England list compiled under Section 41 is used by local authorities and public bodies in implementing their duty under section 40 of the NERC Act 2006.

There are various other Acts, such as The Protection of Badgers Act 1992, and The Hedgerows Regulations 1997, which protect other specific species, species groups or features.

Habitats and species which are considered to be of European importance are protected under The European Council Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Flora and Fauna 1992. The Habitats Directive has been transposed into UK law through The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended), bringing together various ammendments to The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations 1994 which preceded it.

Five Valleys Ecology Ltd


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Survey Season Calendar

Download a copy of our latest Ecology Survey Calendar (pdf, 210 K) to help avoid costly delays to your projects due to missing ecology survey windows.

Start of the Great Crested Newt Survey Season

Surveys for great crested newts (GCNs) can be undertaken from mid-March to mid-June depending on weather conditions. Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) require survey information before planning applications are determined in accordance with Paragraphs 98 and 99 of 'ODPM Circular 06/2005 Biodiversity and Geological Conservation'. We recommend that clients consider the requirement for newt surveys now and plan ahead. Do not miss the narrow GCN survey window. Contact us now to book in surveys and for further advice.

Supreme Court Ruling on the 'Deliberate Disturbance' Offence

In the case of Morge vs Hampshire County Council [2011] UKSC 2 on appeal from: [2010] EWCA Civ 608 the Supreme Court has overruled the Court of Appeal and given a more cautious interpretation of the Article 12(1)(b) 'deliberate disturbance' offence. The Supreme Court believed that the Court of Appeal had set the threshold for 'deliberate disturbance' too high. Whilst no minimum threshold was given by the Supreme Court, a leading environmental lawyer has reviewed the case and believes that in some circumstances disturbance of one or two individuals of a European Protected Species (EPS) may fall within the offence.

Five Valleys Ecology Receive an Ethical Award from the Ethical Company Organisation

Five Valleys Ecology are delighted to have received an Ethical Award and accreditation from the Ethical Company Organisation in recognition of our strong commitment to ethical business practices. The research team stated 'Five Valleys Ecology are commended for puting ethical and environmental considerations at the heart of their business and for providing an ethical alternative within their sector'.


Email us to book a free 15 minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your site and requirements in more detail.