The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017

Legislation update


The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 came into force on 30th November 2017. The Regulations consolidate and update the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, which have been updated a total of 10 times since they were last consolidated in 2010. As such, the new set of Regulations seeks to improve clarity and accessibility to the legislation.

The 2017 Regulations are intended to remain in place for some time. This is due to the Government ceasing to have the power of consolidating regulations derived from EU law after the date of exit from the European Union.

Legislative background

The Regulations are designed to transpose Council Directive 92/43/EEC, on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (EC Habitats Directive), into national law. Additionally, they transpose elements of the EU Wild Birds Directive in England and Wales.

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 extend to England and Wales, including the adjacent territorial sea (12 nautical miles from the mean low-water mark of a coastal state), to a limited extent in Scotland in respect of reserved matters and Northern Ireland in respect of excepted matters.

What has changed?

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 has not introduced significant change. For example, it remains an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb, or trade in the animals listed in Schedule 2, or pick, collect, cut, uproot, destroy, or trade in the plants listed in Schedule 4 without an appropriate licence.

Changes that have been made serve to update references to related legislation and improve the overall text of the Regulations. Such changes include the removal of references to ‘regional strategies’ and ‘unitary development plans’ and the insertion of the River Tweed Commission as a relevant authority.

Read the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 in full here.

The update to the regulations has not changed the species protected in the UK.

The Regulations cover the designation and protection of European sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation) and the protection of European protected species.  Animals that are protected are

Protected Fauna

Common name Latin Name
Bats, Horseshoe (all species) Rhinolophidae
Bats, Typical (all species) Vespertilionidae
Butterfly, Large Blue Maculinea arion
Cat, Wild Felis silvestris
Dolphins, porpoises and whales (all species) Cetacea
Dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius
Frog, Pool Rana lessonae
Lizard, Sand Lacerta agilis
Moth, Fisher’s Estuarine Gortyna borelii lunata
Newt, Great Crested (or Warty) Triturus cristatus
Otter, Common Lutra lutra
Snail, Lesser Whirlpool Ram’s-horn Anisus vorticulus
Snake, Smooth Coronella austriaca
Sturgeon Acipenser sturio
Toad, Natterjack Bufo calamita
Turtles, Marine Caretta caretta

Chelonia mydas

Lepidochelys kempii

Eretmochelys imbricata

Dermochelys coriacea

Protected Flora

Common name Latin Name
Dock, Shore Rumex rupestris
Fern, Killarney Trichomanes speciosum
Gentian, Early Gentianella anglica
Lady’s-slipper Cypripedium calceolus
Marshwort, Creeping Apium repens
Naiad, Slender Najas flexilis
Orchid, Fen Liparis loeselii
Plantain, Floating-leaved water Luronium natans
Saxifrage, Yellow Marsh Saxifraga hirculus


Jon Moore – new senior ecologist

We are pleased to announce that Jon Moore has joined our Derbyshire team.  

Jon is a senior ecologist based in the Derbyshire office managing projects throughout the Midlands, Yorkshire, and the North.

With the arrival of Jon we can now provide more support for our clients on bat related projects (Jon has a class 2 bat licence as well as licences for great crested newts and barn owls), as well as phase 1 habitat surveys and other protected species work.

Most excitingly, we can also now offer two new in-house services – climbing inspections for bats in trees and sonogram analysis for other consultancies. We’ll be adding pages describing these capabilities to the website soon.

Jon’s profile is here and he can be contacted on 0330 2233825.

WWT publishes ‘Rich in Nature’

The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)  has published its report ‘Rich in Nature’ today which urges the Government to deliver its promise of a 25-year plan, and also to make itself accountable to Parliament through an annual budget statement on the value of the environment, alongside the value of the economy. In order to fund environmental improvements, the report cites the Norwegian approach, where companies who deplete the nation’s natural wealth have to pay towards renewing it through a ‘sovereign wealth’ fund.

Families and businesses will be worse off if a Government manifesto commitment to the environment falls due to Brexit, the Trust says:The Government’s proposed “25 year plan for the environment” has been postponed following the EU Referendum, having already been watered down from a Government UK-wide plan to just a Defra departmental plan for England.

The Government’s proposed “25 year plan for the environment” has been postponed following the EU Referendum, having already been watered down from a Government UK-wide plan to just a Defra departmental plan for England.

The plan was supposed to reduce annual costs of environmental damage to businesses and households, by improving our environment. Estimates of these costs for the UK include £15-20 billion from air pollution1and £1.4 billion from flood damage2 alone. much of which is met by our insurance premiums. Water pollution can add up to 17% to water customer’s bills3. Water companies in England and Wales spend at least £129m per year to clean farm pollution from our water4. Meanwhile the farmers themselves incur an extra £180 million per year in growing costs due to industrial chemicals in the air5.

But preventing environmental damage at source can have high returns. For example, it’s estimated that creating 100,000 hectares of new wetlands upstream from towns and cities could have an estimated benefit-cost ratio of between 3:1 and 9:1 because wetlands help to reduce floods, drought and pollution by regulating water flow.

Key recommendations of the report include:

  1. Commit to a 25-year environment plan, with open public and Parliamentary consultation
  2. Ensure UK environmental protection is as strong or stronger in our new relationship with the EU
  3. Introduce an annual Natural Wealth Statement to account for our natural capital
  4. Appoint catchment commissioners, with powers of mapping, coordinating and commissioning
  5. Establish guidance and accreditation for recognised green prescription providers

Read more here and here