Species Protection
Species Protection

The following Environment guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Species Protection
  • Background
  • EU species protection
  • Species protection under national law
  • Defences and licensing
  • Wildlife crime
  • Wildlife trade
  • EU Pollinators Initiative
  • Marine Species Protection

Brexit impact

This content is likely to be impacted by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. For information on how leaving the EU will affect environmental law, see Practice Note: Brexit—environmental law implications, which details the relevant aspects of the withdrawal process, as well as providing insights into developments affecting environmental protection, such as the draft Environmental Principles and Governance Bill.

The date and time of withdrawal of the EU (exit day) is specified in UK law (under section 20 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018), but until the legal terms of the withdrawal negotiated with the EU are finalised, there remains a possibility that the UK’s membership will lapse automatically on exit day, without all the necessary legal and transitional arrangements in place. This has implications for practitioners considering specific environmental law regimes. For information on no deal guidance for these regimes, see Practice Note: Brexit—key publications on implications for environmental law, which provides links to relevant no deal guidance published by the government.

For details on Brexit related regulations relevant to the environment, see: Environment legislation tracker 2019 and Environment legislation tracker 2018.


There are four main categories of protection for species:

  1. habitat conservation, by designating key sites

  2. protection for individual animals and plants, regardless of whether or not they are in a designated area

  3. integrated nature conservation,