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Thomson Ecology HandbookProtected species and development

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

Protected species and development

In the UK and Ireland, a number of species of animal and plant are legally protected. Some species are referred to as European protected species which are those receiving strict protection under the Habitats Directive and others are referred to as nationally protected species which are those protected through domestic legislation (even though this may also originate from European conventions).

Protected species are a material consideration in the planning process and so the effect of development on protected species should be considered by the planning authority when determining planning applications. Planning authorities may have policies which provide protection over and above that provided in law and may impose planning conditions to ensure that the development complies with those policies.

European Protected Species

European protected species are those protected by the Habitats Directive (as implemented under the relevant regulations in the UK and Ireland). Article 12 of the Directive sets out the protection that member states should afford to protected animal species and Article 13 does the same but for plants. European protected species include some widespread and familiar UK species such as otters, great crested newts and all species of bat. The wording of the Directive has been transcribed slightly differently by the devolved administrations of the UK and in Ireland.

England and Wales

In England and Wales, the Directive is implemented through the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, as amended. For protected species, the Regulations make it an offence, with very few exceptions, to: