Reflection of surrounding buildings on RPC's building.

7 Swans-a-Swimming: new regulations are there to protect them

11 December 2017

It's day seven of our festive blog series: The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 have come into effect. What do they say for the likes of our swimming swans?

That question can be answered fairly shortly – they say pretty much the same thing as The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. The same is true of the references in the Regulations to habitats and animals.


The catch is that the regulations are numbered slightly differently, so practitioners should be aware and make sure that they are using the correct references.


The new Regulations came into effect on 30 November 2017, and were made to consolidate various amendments which had been made to the 2010 Regulations. They update and clarify some small points, but otherwise contain little in the way of new law.


In relation to the wild bird habitats, regulation 10 contains the duty on various bodies to exercise their functions to achieve the objectives of the "preservation, maintenance and re-establishment of a sufficient diversity and area of habitat for wild birds in the United Kingdom". This is the same duty as was previously in regulation 9A. These functions will include those functions relating to town and country planning and to support this duty Natural England has issued advice as to how planning authorities should determine applications where wild birds may be affected.  This will require the consideration of surveys and potentially mitigation (or occasionally compensation) works.


Wild birds themselves, and their nests and eggs, are offered further protection by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is this Act which, amongst other things, makes it an offence to intentionally injure, kill or take any wild bird or to damage or destroy their nest or eggs.


See our full series of festive blogs here.