Find below a list of international treaties, European and UK legislation regulating wildlife and nature. This list is not intended to be exhaustive.
Ramsar Convention on Wetlands 1971
International framework for national action and international cooperation on the conservation and management of wetlands and their resources.
World Heritage Convention 1972 (WHC)
Protects cultural or natural sites that of the greatest value to humanity.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 1973 (CITES)
Regulates international trade in endangered plants and animals andthe products derived from them.
Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979 (CMS or Bonn Convention)
Regulates the protection and conservation of migratory species and their habitats
UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS)
UNCLOS provides the legal framework for international governance of seas and oceans and their resources.
Convention on Biological Diversity 1992 (CBD)
An international treaty formulated to sustain the rich variety of life on earth
Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats 1979 (Bern Convention)
Conserves wild flora and fauna and their natural habitats and to promote European cooperation in this area.
Directive 79/409/EC on the Conservation of Wild Birds (the Wild Birds Directive 1979)
Provides wide ranging protection for Europe's wild birds.
Directive 92/43/EC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Habitats Directive 1992)
Protects European biodiversity through the adoption of wide ranging conservation measures which protect rare, threatened or endemic species. Also provides the legal framework for Natura 2000.
National (Specific focus on England and Wales)
Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act 1934 as amended by the Fishing Limits Act 1976 and the Fisheries Act 1981.
Prohibits the use of any ship for whaling of any species of cetacean within United Kingdom Fishery Limits.
Plant Health Act 1967
Main legislation on plant health in England and Wales
Conservation of Seals Act 1970
Specific legislation for conservation of seals in England and Wales
Customs and Excise Management Act 1979
Legislation used by Customs officers to enforce CITES in the UK
Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (WCA)
Implements the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (Bern Convention) and Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds (Birds Directive) in the UK.
The Deer Act 1991
Main legislation protecting wild deer in Engand and Wales
Protection of Badgers Act 1992
Main law protecting badgers in England and Wales.
Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations, 1994
Implements in England and Wales the Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.
The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997 (note that the regulations have been amended by the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 and the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) (Amendment) Regulations 2007)
UK regulations implementing the provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW ACT)
Provides new right of way on foot for certain types of land and strengthens wildlife protection and enforcement powers.
The Hunting Act 2004
Prohibits hunting down of wild animals with dogs.
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC)
Creates Natural England and the establishment of the Commission of Rural Communities. It also deals with the Public Rights of Way in relation to the use mechanically propelled vehicles.
The Plant Health (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2008
Amends the Plant Health (England) 2006 to implement EC Directives that prevent the introduction and spread of harmful pests and diseases in England.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009
Introduces a new framework for managing marine activities based on marine spatial planning. Provides for the creation of Marine Conservation Zones - a new kind of marine protected area. Aims to improve coastal access through the creation of a long-distance coastal route around England and Wales.