Baker Consultants

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Quinquennial review October milestone is nearing

Every five years, Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 are reviewed by county nature conservation bodies in the UK (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, and NatureScot), and a range of non-governmental organisations through the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

The first Quinquennial Review (QQR) was submitted in 1986 and there have since been six more reviews. The seventh review, QQR 7, has been running from 8 April 2021 and is due to run until its completion in early 2022. With the completion of the data gathering phase of this year’s review on 7 July, the data is now being analysed by the QRR inter-agency group until October 2021, with a precise date for concluding this activity yet to be determined.

Species from Schedule 5 included in QQR7 proposals for removal include mammals such as pine martens, red squirrels, harbour seals and hedgehogs, as well as bat species currently on Annex II of the Habitats Directive. Reptiles include adders, common lizard, grass snake and slow worm.

After the initial analysis, the third phase of the review with a period of engagement that is due to run until December 2021. This involves the Joint Nature Committee (JNCC) carrying out an engagement exercise and consultations with various stakeholders from non-governmental bodies, the results from which will be taken into consideration when providing recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to Ministers for the Environment in the Scottish and Welsh Government on which species should be added or removed from Schedules 5 and 8. This stage is expected to be completed and delivered by the end of the first quarter of 2022.

This review has attracted a great deal of attention in environmental and conservation circles due to the proposed significant changes to the eligibility criteria of species currently on Schedules 5 & 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. We will be reviewing the next stage very carefully to fully understand the impacts of proposed changes that go through to the stakeholder engagement period process which will include bodies such as ARG, the Wildlife Trusts and other conservation organisations who have already been vociferous about the proposed changes so far.

Find out more information here on QQR 7 on the JNCC website.


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