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Your responsibilities

Planning to carry out an activity that might affect a protected species? You may need a licence before you begin.

Developers, architects and builders must consider any protected species present when planning to develop a site, or carry out building or demolition works.

Ecological consultants may need a licence from us to carry out certain surveys. Any survey involving a protected species should also follow best practice.

Protected species make an excellent topic for educating people about nature conservation, but teachers and trainers must take care to stay within the law. It’s an offence to keep certain specimens even for educational purposes.

Everyone should follow our guidance on responsible wildlife watching. You may also want to learn about living with a protected species in your property.

Many protected species use Scotland’s woodlands and forests. Woodland managers should carry out suitable surveys to identify which protected species are present, and then avoid disturbing them or their breeding sites.

Before consenting to activities, regulatory authorities such as planning authorities must consider the law and Scottish Government policy on protected species.

Research into protected species informs their conservation. But some research may involve methods that could disturb or harm protected species. Following certain codes of practice may help to avoid disturbance and damage.