Species are protected in Britain by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 –
Schedule 5 sets out the lists of animals that are subject to the Section 9 criminalising of intentional killing, injuring or taking any wild animal. Scotland has a slight variant – intentional or reckless killing, injuring or taking any wild animal.
Schedule 8 sets out the lists of plants that are subject to the Section 13 criminalising of intentionally picking, uprooting or destroying any wild plant, and (not being an authorised person), intentional uprooting of any wild plant not included in Schedule 8.
Scotland has a slight variant – intentional or reckless picking, uprooting or destroying any wild plant or any seed or spore attached to any such wild plant, and (not being an authorised person), intentional or reckless uprooting of any wild plant not included in Schedule 8.
The intervention of EU law during the period of the UK’s membership of the EU has resulted in a separate list of protected species for animals and another one for plants – set out in 2017 Regulations, replacing earlier 2010 Regulations. The animals and plants in these lists are termed European Protected Species. They may be also represented in the 1981 Act lists.
Schedule 2 (of the 2017 Regulations) identifies those animals listed in Annex IV(a) to the pre-31st Dec 2020 European Habitats Directive which have a natural range which includes any area in Great Britain. Being listed in Schedule 2 does not necessarily mean the animal is rare in Britain per se, it means it is rare in Europe and yet can be found in Britain.
Regulation 43 of the 2017 Regulations criminalises the deliberate capture, injury or killing of any wild animal of a European protected species, the deliberate disturbance of wild animals of any such species, the deliberate taking or destroying the eggs of such an animal, and the damaging or destroying of a breeding site or resting place of such an animal.
This is a different offence to the 1981 Act offence, notably in respect of disturbance. Note: there are also 1981 Act offences relating to capture and selling not listed in this post.
Schedule 5 (of the 2017 Regulations) identifies those plants listed in Annex IV(b) to the pre-31st Dec 2020 Habitats Directive which have a natural range which includes any area in Great Britain. Again being listed in Schedule 5 does not necessarily mean the plant is rare in Britain, it means it is rare in Europe and yet can be found in Britain.
Regulation 47 of the 2017 Regulations states –
47.—(1) It is an offence deliberately to pick, collect, cut, uproot or destroy a wild plant of a European protected species.
(2) It is an offence for any person—
(a) to be in possession of, or to control,
(b) to transport,
(c) to sell or exchange, or
(d) to offer for sale or exchange,
anything to which this paragraph applies.
(3) Paragraph (2) applies to—
(a) any live or dead plant or part of a plant—
(i) which has been taken in the wild, and
(ii) which is of a species or subspecies listed in Annex II(b) (other than any bryophyte) or Annex IV(b) to the Habitats Directive; and
(b) anything derived from such a plant or any part of such a plant.
Again these are different offences to the two offences set out in the 1981 Act, notably in relation to cutting and collecting.
The above 2010 and then 2017 extension to disturbance and cutting and collecting is particularly relevant to land development. The current government stipulations on planning are here.
The legislation in Northern Ireland follows that of Britain, presently.
Please consider if your Cardinal system has sufficient Protected Species legislation in it.