31st January 2020

Exiting from the EU

Hugh Clark

As a result of our exiting from the EU at 11pm 31 January 2020, the UK Government has passed a number of Statutory Instruments to make some technical amendments to one of our main pieces of wildlife legislation ‘The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017’ which transposed the EU Habitats Directive into domestic law. The exact title depends on which part of the United Kingdom you are referring to – there are separate regulations for each of England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.

The changes are to bring these regulations across into UK jurisdiction and to ensure that the provisions in the regulations continue to function after we have left the EU. Whilst there have been some minor technical changes, what we need to be aware of is that habitat and species protections will continue to be implemented in the same or an equivalent way. For instance there will still be a requirement for licensing where damaging activities are proposed to take place that would otherwise be unlawful. Nothing has fundamentally changed.

The basic underlying legislation, that we have relied on, remains in place.