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Thomson Ecology HandbookNational wildlife law | Scotland

TEH Index

Part 1: Legal frameworks

Part 2: Planning policy and other guidance

Part 3: Development and features of biodiversity importance

Part 4: Surveys and assessment

Part 5: Mitigation and enhancement

Part 6: Practical techniques

Table 3C: Statutory Wildlife Law: Scotland

Legislation Description
National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949   Provides for the preserving of flora or fauna of special interest in the area through the designation of Local Nature Reserves by local authorities. 
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, as amended in Scotland (WCA)
Provides for the further protection of sites of at least national importance for nature conservation and varying levels of protection for species in need of conservation action, or other protection, within the UK. Protection may include prohibition of some or all of: killing, injuring, disturbing, taking, sale/barter or possession of species and also protection of breeding and sheltering places. 
The Conservation (Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994, as amended in Scotland (the Habitats Regulations) Provide for the protection of sites in the UK that support habitats and species in need of conservation across Europe and full protection of species of European importance whether occurring within designated sites or not.
National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000  Provides for the protection and sustainable use of national parks in Scotland and is the primary legislation under which Scottish national parks are designated. 
Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 and associated Orders and Regulations (the Water Framework Regulations)
Provides the statutory under-pinning for the protection of the water environment in Scotland through river basin management planning, regulation of controlled activities and implementation of remedial and restoration measures. The Act and its associated Orders and Regulations constitute the Scottish legal interpretation of the European Water Framework Directive.
Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004   Places a duty on all public authorities, including local planning authorities, to consider biodiversity in their work. Requires government departments to have regard to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Compels the Scottish ministers to produce a biodiversity strategy and a list of species and habitats of principal importance for biodiversity conservation in Scotland and to take or promote steps to further their conservation. Strengthens the legislation protecting SSSIs, including giving SNH the power to make Management Orders. Sets out the procedure for Nature Conservation Orders. 
Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007, as amended by The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2010  Apply the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive to activities in marine areas where the United Kingdom has jurisdiction beyond its territorial sea - broadly from 12 nautical miles to 200 nautical miles from the United Kingdom’s coastal baseline. Regulation 26 of the 2010 amendment regulations reflects the devolutionary expansion of Scottish ministers’ powers within the marine environment.
Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009, as amended   Extend the protection provided to species and habitats by various other legislation including the Birds and Habitats Directives to include habitats and species not only within, but beyond designated areas. Also to prevent damage to water resources, and land contamination which presents a threat to human health. Importantly, under these regulations competent authorities (Scottish ministers, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency with regard to species and habitats) may request information from operators to show compliance with the regulations. If damage occurs they may require the relevant operator to remedy the damage.
Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 and Marine (Scotland) Act 2010
The UK passed the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, which provided executive devolution to Scottish Ministers in relation to new marine planning and conservation powers in the offshore region, and effectively expanded Scottish marine jurisdiction from 12 nautical miles to 200. The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 passed into law powers relating to planning, licensing, conservation (including seal species), and enforcement within this territorial limit of the Scottish marine environment.
Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 Amends a number of other wildlife laws in Scotland; including the Wildlife and Countryside Act, the Deer Act and the Badgers Act. The Act deals mainly with the management of game, including the introduction of vicarious liability for landowners. It also creates a mechanism for the management of non-native, invasive species (including Species Control Orders) and enables protected licences to be granted for any social, economic or environmental purpose, which would include development, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

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