Protected Animals

Unless licensed, it is illegal intentionally or recklessly to kill, injure, take, or trade in specified wild animals listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act or to damage or destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place used by a wild animal listed on Schedule 5, or disturb such an animal while it is occupying such a shelter or place. The Schedules to the Act contain long lists of protected species and are available on line.

Even if a farmer is licensed to kill or take wild birds or animals, he must not use any of the following any traps which are designed to cause injury; self-locking snares; nets; baited boards; bird lime; any poisonous or stupefying substance; bows; crossbows; explosives; large shotguns; night-vision equipment; artificial lights or dazzling devices;  gas or chemical wetting agents;  live mammals or birds or sound recording decoys; motor vehicles to chase wild birds or animals.

Protected Plants

It is illegal to pick, uproot, destroy, trade in or possess (for the purposes of trade) any wild plant listed on Schedule 8, unless one is licensed. It is possible to apply for licences from Defra for various purposes including: scientific research; conservation; re-populating species; animal protection; photography; taxidermy and preventing serious damage to agriculture or inland waters

Anyone who farms, traps or otherwise deals in animals or plants, must not:

  • release or allow to escape into the wild any animal that is not ordinarily resident in Great Britain, or is listed on Schedule 9
  • plant or otherwise cause to grow any plant that is listed on Schedule 9

Wildlife inspectors have powers to enter and inspect premises in order to assess licence applications or to monitor and ensure compliance with the licence conditions.

Occupiers of land within a site of special scientific interest (SSSI), must comply with requirements of English Nature. Occupiers of land in a national park, must not convert it to agricultural land by ploughing it or by other means.

Protecting Birds

Unless licensed to do so, a farmer must not intentionally or recklessly: kill, injure or take any wild bird; take, damage or destroy any wild bird’s nest while it is being used or built or take or destroy the eggs of any wild bird

Within an area designated for special protection by DEFRA, special bird protection rules apply.

It is illegal to sell or advertise wild birds or wild bird eggs unless licensed to do so. Certain birds must be registered listed on Schedule 4 to the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

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