SI – The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland)

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2012 (SSI 2012/228)

The above Scottish Statutory Instrument was laid in the Scottish Parliament on 31 July under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 in order to come into force on 16 August. The Instrument will amend the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 and may be viewed here

The Instrument relates to correspondence and discussion between the European Commission, the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations, following which Scottish Ministers concluded that further action is required to transpose certain provisions of Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds (“the Birds Directive”).

The Instrument will introduce new duties for Scottish Ministers, Forestry Commission Scotland, local authorities, National Park Authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency.

The Instrument provides the following:

  • It will place a new duty on the Scottish Ministers, Forestry Commission Scotland, local authorities, National Park authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to take such steps as they consider appropriate for the achievement of an objective which is defined in the instrument.
  • That objective is the preservation, maintenance and re-establishment of a sufficient diversity and area of habitat for wild birds in Scotland.
  • It lists the relevant enactments which provide functions to empower the delivery of the objective by the specified bodies.
  • It allows due account to be given to economic and recreational requirements when considering which measures may be appropriate for the purpose of securing or contributing to the objective (as is expressly provided by the Birds Directive).
  • It places an additional duty on the appropriate nature conservation body (i.e. Scottish Natural Heritage) to review from time to time the extent to which the objective has been met, set out the conclusions of the review in a report, include any recommendations for further action and send the report to the Scottish Ministers.
  • After consultation with the appropriate nature conservation body, the Scottish Ministers must give guidance to Forestry Commission Scotland, local authorities, National Park authorities and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency to facilitate the determination by those bodies of the extent to which the diversity and area of habitat for wild birds is sufficient.
  • It clarifies that provision to create Marine Protected Areas under Part 5 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2012 can be used to achieve the objective of preservation, maintenance and re-establishment of a sufficient diversity and area of habitat for wild birds in Scotland, where applicable in the marine environment.
  • It requires that competent authorities use all reasonable endeavours to avoid pollution or deterioration of habitats of wild birds in Scotland.
  • It requires Scottish Ministers to take such steps as they consider necessary to encourage research and scientific work.

Similar action to improve the transposition of the Birds Directive is being co-ordinated across the rest of the UK, to a similar timescale.

Category: Scottish Government News

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