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ARCHIVE: Amendments to transposing regulations

2007 Amendments

On 6th August 2003 Defra carried out a consultation in England on proposed amendments to the Habitats Regulations. The amendments were principally to address a number of gaps and inconsistencies in the transposition of the Habitats Directive and to provide greater legal certainty in a number of areas. A similar consultation was carried out in Wales by the National Assembly for Wales.

Following this consultation the transposition of the Habitats Directive in the United Kingdom was subject to two European Court of Justice judgments (Case C-6/04, Commission v United Kingdom and Case C-131/05, Commission v United Kingdom). 

Two Defra consultations announced on 8 May 2006 and concluded on 30 June 2006 looked at amending the Habitats Regulations in England and Wales and the transposition of the Wild Birds Directive and Habitats Directive beyond UK territorial waters in light of the above judgments and the results of the previous consultations.

The consultation document covering the amendments to the Habitats Regulations and summary of the responses received can be viewed below.

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1843) make the appropriate amendments to the Habitats Regulations. The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/1842) transpose the Habitats Directive beyond the UK’s territorial waters (beyond 12 nautical miles). Copies of these regulations can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website.

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 provide combined amendments for England and Wales (although a few provisions extend to Scotland as well or extend to Scotland only). Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar have drafted similar provisions which have come into force in their territories following a similar timetable.

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 entered into force on 21 August 2007, except paragraph 21 of regulation 5, which comes into force on 21 November 2007.

The amendments:

  • simplify the species protection regime to better reflect the Habitats Directive;
  • provide a clear legal basis for surveillance and monitoring of European protected species (EPS);
  • toughen the regime on trading EPS that are not native to the UK;
  • ensure that the requirement to carry out appropriate assessments on water abstraction consents and land use plans is explicit.

2009 Amendments

On September 23 2008 the Commission issued an Additional Reasoned Opinion (RO) indicating that it was still not entirely satisfied with precision of the 2007 regulations in relation to several issues. Most of these issues have been resolved by means of written clarification or explanation of the 2007 changes in our RO response. However, some have been addressed by amendments which provide further clarification and address the Commission’s remaining concerns. We have worked with the Devolved Administrations and other Government Departments and agencies to ensure that the effect of these changes on landowners and sea users etc is minimal.

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/6) make the appropriate amendments to the Habitats Regulations. The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/7) make the appropriate amendments to the Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations. Copies of these regulations can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website. These amendments came in to force on in England and Wales and beyond 12 nm on 30 January 2009

Further Information

For more information regarding the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007 see the Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations pages.

Defra has prepared guidance on the implications of the Habitats Regulations Amendments for stakeholders:

Questions and Answers relating to the 2007 Amendment Regulations [PDF] (263 KB)

Questions and Answers relating to the 2009 Amendment Regulations [PDF] (54 KB)

Guidance relating to 2007 amendments

For species
For species in woodland
For Natural England licence application forms and guidance on licensing
For plans and projects

The Environment Agency and DCLG have published guidance for those who need to consider impacts on European sites with regards to land use and water abstraction plans and projects.

This guidance can be found at:

For specific sectors

For further guidance on woodland issues please see the Forestry Commission web site

Guidance updated or created as a result of the 2009 amendments

Ecological focused guidance and sector specific operational guidance, introduced  as a result of the 2009 amendments, are being drafted and will be accessible from here in due course. See questions 7 to 9 of Questions and Answers relating to the 2009 Amendment Regulations [PDF] (54 KB)

Page last modified: 06 February 2009
Page published: 23 October 2008

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