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The Habitats Directive

Articles 12 to 15 describe the species protection provisions of the Habitats Directive external site .  Articles 12 and 13 require the establishment of a 'system of strict protection' for species listed on its Annex IV.  Articles 14 and 15 requires controlled exploitation of Annex V species and prohibits indiscriminate means of killing or taking these animals and those on Annex IV.  Article 16 outlines a 'derogation' procedure (i.e. the method by which it is possible to deviate from the requirements of the Directive).

The species listed on Annexes II, IV and V of the Habitats Directive, plus those birds protected under the Birds Directive, are called species of 'Community interest'.

Annex II species: Special Areas of Conservation have been designated for populations of these species found in Scotland.  'Priority' species are particularly threatened and are subject to stronger protection.  However, no priority species occur in Scotland.

Annex IV species: A 'system of strict protection' has been established for populations of species listed on Annex IV which occur naturally in Scotland (called European protected species in the Habitats Regulations). 

Annex V species: Certain measures are required in relation to the managed exploitation of these species found naturally in Great Britain.  Schedule 3  PDF document  of the Regulations lists these species which include several found in Scotland - for example, mountain hare and pine marten.  Certain methods of killing or taking these animals is prohibited including any means which is indiscriminate and capable of causing the local disappearance of, or serious disturbance to, a population of them. The same restrictions apply when any European protected species of animal is killed or taken.

Importantly, a species may be listed on more than one Annex of the Directive.  Please refer to our protected species table  PDF document to find out how a particular species is protected in Scotland. 

Note that birds are afforded protection under the Birds Directive which requires the classification of Special Protection Areas for species featured on its Annex I and regularly occurring migratory species.

Last updated on Tuesday 12th January 2016 at 16:49 PM. Click here to comment on this page