The Habitats Regulations: implementing species protection

The Habitats Regulations 1994 (as amended in Scotland) implement the species protection requirements of the Habitats Directive in Scotland.

The Habitats Regulations 1994 apply on land and in Scotland’s inshore waters (up to 12 nautical miles from land). Several amendments have been made to the Regulations, which apply only to Scotland.

These amendments include the:

The Regulations in Scotland thus do not mirror the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, which apply in England and Wales.

Schedules to the Habitats Regulations

The various schedules attached to the Habitats Regulations include:

Part II of the Habitats Regulations concerns the protection of certain habitats and the habitats of species within European sites. This part of the Regulations describes how Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are selected and designated.

SACs may be designated for:

  • habitats listed on Annex I of the Habitats Directive
  • species listed on Annex II of the Habitats Directive

Part III of the Habitats Regulations details the protection given to European protected species of animals and plants. This section also describes the licensing system, which is used to permit certain activities that would otherwise be illegal.

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