Wildlife and Countryside Act

Applies to the whole UK

Title: The Wildlife and Countryside Act

Category: UK Law

Date: 1981 (amended 1985, 1991)

Reference: 1981 Chapter 69 [Full text], 1991 Chapter 39 [Full text]

General Description:The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) is the principle mechanism for protection of wildlife in Great Britain. The Act implements the following:

  • (Bern Convention); (79/409/EEC); (92/43/EEC), in Great Britain.
  • European Union Directives on the conservation of wild birds
  • Natural Habitats and Wild Fauna and Flora Directive

The Act comprises four parts:

  1. covers the protection of wildlife, including birds, their nests and eggs; wild animals, mammals and wild plants.
  2. extends to the countryside and national parks, and the designation of protected areas including Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Limestone pavements, National Nature Reserves, and grants by the Nature Conservancy Council (Now restructured into English Nature , and the Countryside Council for Wales.
  3. covers public rights of way, including footpaths and bridleways.
  4. deals with miscellaneous provisions i.e. areas of application, offences, interpretation, amendments, repeals.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Amendment) (Scotland) Regulations 2001 provides regulations pertinent to Scotland.

Pertinence to Agriculture: Wildlife, Conservation, Public Rights of Way

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