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Regulators and Agencies

The following government bodies and agencies are responsible for policy making and the administration and regulation of nature conservation and wildlife protection in England, Wales and Scotland.

Natural England (NE)
Natural England was set up under the legal framework of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. It took over the functions of English Nature and is responsible for the administration of nature conservation in England. It also acts as the Government's advisor on the English natural environment. Please note that Natural England must be consulted on applications for developments within 400m of either the Thames Basin Heath Special Protection Area or the Dorset Heathlands. Get more information on this from the Natural England's website. You can also contact them on 0845 600 3078 (local rate).
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)
SNH was established in 1992 under the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Act 1991, and is the Government body in Scotland responsible for matters relating to natural heritage, including biodiversity, landscape, policy, research, designation of protected sites, provision of wildlife licences and supporting interpretation.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW)
Natural Resources Wales is the agency responsible for the administration of nature conservation in Wales. It took over the functions of the Countryside Council for Wales. It acts as the statutory adviser to the Welsh Government on the natural environment. It is also responsible for the designation of SSCIs and NNRs. Although the Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing sets the policy framework for Natural Resources Wales, its operations are set within the Welsh Assembly Government's Scheme for Sustainable Development. Contact Natural Resources Wales on 0300 065 3000.
Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)
JNCC is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation. It acts as the umbrella body through which the four national agencies, Natural England, the Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish National Heritage and the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside deliver their statutory responsibilities for the United Kingdom as a whole. It also establishes common standards throughout the United Kingdom on nature conservation and fosters nature conservation research and analysis. For general inquiries about the JNCC's work, call on 44 (0)1733 562626.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
DEFRA is the UK Government department tasked with the environment, rural development, the countryside, wildlife, animal welfare and sustainable development. Responsible for policy making on nature and wildlife in England. Provides guidance documents on nature conservation and wildlife management.
Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)
Devolved Government for Wales. It has a legal duty to encourage biodiversity and to promote ways of conserving the Welsh environment. Operations of the Countryside Council for Wales are set within WAG's Scheme for Sustainable Development.
Local Authorities
Local authorities have statutory powers in relation to nature conservation. For example, they have powers to set up and manage local nature reserves. This links provides a list of county councils, borough and district councils and unitary authorities throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Marine Management Organisation
New executive non-departmental public body established by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. Responsibilities include implementing new marine planning and licensing systems, and making byelaws for Marine Conservation Zones in English waters.

Wildlife Crime Enforcement Bodies

The Police
Will investigate all wildlife offences, including illegal trade in endangered species and poaching. Find list of current wildlife crime officers at the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime's (PAW) website. If you are in London, contact the Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit.
HM Revenue & Customs
Along with the police, the HM Revenue and Customs is responsible for policing and enforcing laws on the illegal importation or exportation of endangered species under CITES.
United Kingdom National Wildlife Crime Unit (uk|NWCU)
The uk|NWCU supports law enforcement agencies throughout the UK on combating wildlife crime. It provides the police and custom officers with intelligence, investigative and analytical support on wildlife crime.
Environment Agency
Wildlife crime is an environmental crime and can be reported to the Environment Agency. The Agency in its enforcement duties on environmental crimes tackles wildlife offences, such as fish poaching, illegal fish re-stocking and damage to wildlife habitats.
Forestry Commission
The Forestry Commission is the Government department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain's forests and woodlands. Enforcement powers include the investigation of suspected illegal tree felling and the inspection of imported timber into the UK. The Foresty Commission can also insist on replanting where there has been unauthorised tree felling and prosecute cases on illegal timber importation.
Non- Governmental Organisations (NGOS)
NGOS such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) work closely with the police in the prevention and detection of wildlife crime.
The Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime (PAW)
PAW acts as the multi-agency umbrella bodyfor the key agencies involved in wildlife law enforcement in the UK. It provides opportunities for the police and other statutory enforcement bodies to work alongside with NGOs on wildlife crime enforcement.

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