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A review of wildlife legislation is coming soon

As National Biodiversity Week continues, I thought it a fitting moment to announce that a review to update our wildlife legislation and ensure that it protects nature and halts biodiversity loss will shortly get underway. As part of this process, an extensive Public Consultation will open next month so that members of the public can participate in the important process of reviewing and updating our wildlife legislation.

This legislation includes the Wildlife Act 1976, the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011, and related Regulations. It covers areas such as the protection of birds, the protection of certain wild animals, and the protection of certain lands, sites and habitats.

This will be the biggest review of wildlife legislation for a generation and as such it is vital that the public has their say.

The review will examine a host of issues including penalties for wildlife crime, enforcement measures, licensing requirements, wildlife protection and habitat protection, among many others. We want to hear from the public on how the legislation can be improved, what extra protections should be provided, and what the priorities should be.

The update of wildlife legislation is part of a commitment under the Programme for Government to “review the protection (including enforcement of relevant legislation) of our natural heritage, including hedgerows, native woodland, and wetlands.”

The objectives are to update legislation so that it better protects nature, helps prevent biodiversity loss, is fully compliant with EU law, and is easier to enforce and comply with.

The review will be completed over several years and will entail several phases of public consultation with the aim of having substantial updates of legislation passed by the end of 2027. The first phase of the consultation will be an online public consultation and will run from mid-June to September. Watch this space!


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