Kent and Medway Biological Records Centre

Legislation - Protected Species

The term "Protected Species" applies to all those listed as protected by

Schedule 5

of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and

Regulation 39

of the Habitats Regulations 1994 (European protected animal species). In the UK some species are covered only by the UK legislation whilst others are protected by both the UK and European legislation.

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.


Wildlife and Countryside Act provides limited protection to all plants, prohibiting the intentional uprooting of any plant without the landowners permission. Very rare plants are protected under schedule 8 which prevents the picking, uprooting and destruction or sale.


The act gives protection to all wild birds making it an offence to :
  • Intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird species.
  • Take, damage or destroy its nest or eggs.

Animals Other Than Birds:

Whilst the protection varies with the species, for those receiving full protection it is an offence to:
  • Intentionally kill, injure or take such a species.
  • Possess or control any live or dead specimen, or anything derived from such a specimen.
  • Intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place used for shelter or protection.
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb such a species while it is occupying any structure or place used for shelter or protection.
  • Trade in such a species.

Protected Species Survey Licences.

It is possible to obtain a licence to carry out survey work that involves protected species. The licence may permit disturbance to a species or its habitat but usually a condition of the licence is that any animals caught are released shortly after capture and in the same location.

Licences for survey work in England which will affect a species protected by either UK or European legislation are issued by Natural England. A condition of licence issue will often require the applicant to have previous training and experience of surveying and handling the species in question.

For further information about licences, see the DEFRA website, or contact KMBRC