Important changes to The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017

As a result of our imminent exit from the EU, there have been some amendments to one of our main pieces of wildlife legislation ‘The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017’. This legislation transposes the EU Habitats Directive and Wild Bird Directive into domestic law. Burton Reid Associates thought it timely to provide a quick update for our clients on what this means for protected sites, habitats and species occurring within the UK after exit day.

The main point to note is that habitat and species protection and standards will be implemented in the same way or an equivalent way when the UK exits the EU and that there is no planned change in terms of policy. The amendments to the legislation that have been applied are to ensure that the regulations continue to function after we have left the EU. For example, references throughout the legislation have been re-defined from an EU context to a UK only context.

The amendment is referred to as The Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 but essentially, existing protections for habitats and species will be maintained and we do not anticipate any significant changes for businesses as a result of the amendment.

Update March 2020: Please note that the Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) has provided further clarification on the above. The 2019 amendment referred to does not come into force until the end of the Implementation Period. Due to minor amendments pre-brexit the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations should be referred to as The Conservation of Habitat and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).

Further information can be found on the following websites:

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion. If legal opinion is required a qualified legal professional should be contacted for advice.

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