The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)

Applies to the protection of wildlife and countryside throughout Great Britain. Protection is given to birds, animals and plants. It is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird or take damage and destroy nests and eggs (with exception to species listed in Schedule 2). It is an offence to intentionally (or recklessly under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004) to kill, injure or take wild animals listed in schedule 5 or interfere with places of shelter. It is also an offence to pick, uproot or destroy listed wild plants, seeds and spores.

The Act contains also contains measures for preventing the establishment of non-native species which may be detrimental to native wildlife and provides for the notification and confirmation of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s). In Scotland, this function has been replaced by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. The Act is supplemented by the Wildlife and Countryside (Service of Notices) Act 1985 and has undergone a range of amendments since its original enactment.

This Act has relevance to grounds maintenance operations during routine hedge and tree work. If you find evidence of nesting birds and continue such work you can be prosecuted. You can also be prosecuted under this Act if you disturb a bat roost during ground maintenance work or during construction, demolition and repair work on buildings and if you disturb great crested newts during any work that affects ponds or lakes on campus.

Forestry Act, 1967

Under the Forestry Act, a felling licence may be required to fell growing trees according to their location, volume and diameter, the type of tree work involved, other permission such as planning permission and other legal and statutory requirements such as in the circumstances of nuisance, danger or tree disease. If there are plans to fell any trees on your campus you should check to see if you need a licence with the Forestry Commission (England), Natural Resources Wales, Forestry Commission Scotland or the Forest Service within the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland (also in accordance with the  Forestry Act (Northern Ireland) 2010).

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

The NERC Act requires public bodies, including Universities, to “have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity”.