We are otter specialists and can advise our clients on the complexities of the law and the resulting constraints for any given project. Non-compliance with the law can lead to prosecution and a jail sentence of up to 6 months and/or a fine of up to £5000.
The key pieces of legislation affecting otters and their habitats are:
Planning Policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation 2005
Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9) sets out planning policies on protection of biodiversity and geological conservation through the planning system.
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
This act provides varying degrees of protection for the listed species of flora and fauna, including comprehensive protection of wild birds and their nests and eggs. It also revised the system for designating SSSIs and gave further powers for their protection and the introduction of management agreements.
Marine and Coastal Access 2009
Still being agreed around the UK, but essentially provides protection to designated coastal areas from fishing and disturbance.
The Habitats Directive 1992
The European Community Council Directive on the Conservation of Natural Habitats of Wild Fauna and Flora (92/43/EEC) aims to protect the European Union's biodiversity. It requires member states to designate Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) sites of European importance for listed habitats and species. SACs must be maintained at, or restored to, favourable conservation status, and should be protected from damaging plans or projects. There are 17 candidate SACs in Devon. The Directive also requires member states to provide strict protection for specified flora and fauna outside of designated sites (ie European Protected Species).
Together, SACs and SPAs will form a European network of sites called 'Natura 2000'.
Habitats Regulations 1994
The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations 1994 formally transpose the requirements of the Habitats Directive into national law. They build on existing nature conservation legislation for the protection of habitats and species by introducing requirements for assessing plans and projects affecting European designations and licensing certain activities affecting European Protected Species.