Major Review of Wildlife Legislation to Begin With Consultation

Plans for the “biggest review of wildlife legislation for a generation” have been set out by the Government.

Members of the public will soon be invited to participate in a public consultation on updates to wildlife legislation, including the Wildlife Act 1976, the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 and related regulations.

This legislation covers areas such as the protection of birds, the protection of certain wild animals, and the protection of certain lands, sites and habitats.

Malcolm Noonan, the Minister of State for Nature, Heritage and Electoral Reform, said: “This is the biggest review of wildlife legislation for a generation. 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, 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.

“This review will seek to strike an appropriate balance between the needs of humans and the needs of wildlife. 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 first phase of the consultation will be an online public consultation and will run from mid-June to September.

The review will be completed over several years and will entail several phases of public consultation, with a view to having substantial updates of legislation passed by the end of 2027.