Implementation of the EU Habitats Directive in England and Wales
Implementation of the EU Habitats Directive in England and Wales

The following Planning practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Implementation of the EU Habitats Directive in England and Wales
  • UK implementation
  • Aims of the EU Habitats Directive
  • Habitats Regulations Assessment requirements
  • Screening
  • Appropriate assessment
  • Derogations
  • Protected species requirements
  • Parties involved in the regulatory process
  • The competent authority
  • More...

UK implementation

EU Council Directive 92/43/EEC (OJ L 206, 22.7.1992) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the EU Habitats Directive), as it continues to have effect in the EU, is mainly transposed in England and the UK offshore area by:

  1. Part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981)

  2. the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, SI 2017/1012 (the Habitats Regulations) (these replaced the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, SI 2010/490, from 30 November 2017), which apply in England and Wales and their seas up to 12 nautical miles from the coast, and

  3. the Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, SI 2017/1013 (the Offshore Regulations) (these replaced the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 2007, SI 2007/1842 from 30 November 2017), which apply in UK waters more than 12 nautical miles from the coast and/or the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations 2001, SI 2001/1754

This EU and national legislation is referred to collectively in this Practice Note as ‘habitats legislation’.

Derived from EU law, the Habitats Regulations and Offshore Regulations were made pursuant to the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA 1972), which was repealed from 31 January 2020 (Exit Day) by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (EU(W)A 2018). However, the repeal of ECA 1972 was subject to specific savings provisions in

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