Q&As

What is the key legislation concerning protection of nesting birds and their hibernation?

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Published on LexisPSL on 31/08/2016

The following Environment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What is the key legislation concerning protection of nesting birds and their hibernation?
  • Domestic Legislation
  • EU Legislation

What is the key legislation concerning protection of nesting birds and their hibernation?

Certain species of animals (including wild birds) are protected at European and national levels from being harmed or disturbed. Similarly, many areas/habitats with distinctive animals (including certain birds) are protected at the international, European and national level.

Some of the applicable regulatory regimes are set out below.

For more information on species and habitats protection generally, see: Protected areas and species—overview.

Domestic Legislation

Wild birds are specifically protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981). There are a range of offences provided for within WCA 1981, including it being an offence (subject to specific exceptions) to:

  1. intentionally to kill, injure or take any wild bird

  2. take, damage or destroy the nest of a specified wild bird

  3. take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird while the nest is in use or being built

  4. take or destroy an egg of any wild bird

  5. have in one's possession or control any live or

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