Baker Consultants

Review of schedules of Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 could remove currently protected species

The 7th Quinquennial review of the schedules of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 may lead to significant changes to protected species.

Every five years the government carries out a review of the schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The schedules list this species which are protected under the Act and the level of protections they receive.

The current view is proposing a significant overhaul of the way in which species are selected for inclusion on these schedules introducing new eligibility criteria. JNCC has proposed that the eligibility criteria are narrowed to those species ‘facing imminent threat of extinction’. Species which are either European Protected Species or ‘Critically Endangered’ will included on the schedules automatically. Species which are classified as ‘GB nationally/regionally Vulnerable, Near Threatened’, and ‘Least Concern’ will no longer be included. As a result, there is the potential that species such as water vole, adder and slow-worm could be removed from the schedules and lose the legal protection that they currently enjoy under the 1981 Act. Evidence and the views of stakeholders are being sought by JNCC.

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