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Session 1997-98
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Other Bills before Parliament

Wildlife Bill

This is the text of the Wildlife Bill, as presented to the House of Commons on 3 November 1998

 
 
  
Wildlife Bill
 
 
 
 
ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES
General duties and powers
Clause 
1.Duties of persons discharging certain statutory functions.
2.Powers of entry for authorised persons.
3.Species and habitat action plans.
Protection of species
4.Extension of powers to protect species at sea.
5.Protection for species outside sites of special scientific interest.
Protection of sites of special interest
6.Orders relating to management of certain land.
7.Special protection for certain areas of special interest.
8.Penalties.
9.Bye-laws.
10.Designation of local wildlife sites.
11.Financial support for certain designated sites.
12.Planning controls.
13.Old mining permissions.
14.Planning controls on undertakers.
General
15.Regulations, etc.
16.Expenses.
17.Corresponding provision for Northern Ireland.
18.Short title.
 


 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Provide for conservation purposes to be furthered by any person discharging a function under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; to make new provision for the protection of certain species and sites; and for related purposes.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

 
General duties and powers
Duties of persons discharging certain statutory functions.     1. - (1) Measures taken pursuant to this Act shall be formulated and carried out in such a way as to safeguard and promote to best effect the public interest in nature conservation and protection of wildlife.
 
      (2) It shall be the duty of any person discharging any function under the Act of 1981 to further, in so far as it is consistent with those functions, the relevant conservation purposes defined in this section.
 
      (3) For the purposes of this section the relevant conservation purposes shall be-
 
 
    (a) the preservation, maintenance, re-establishment or restoration of a nationwide network of areas sufficient in number, size and quality as will, in the opinion of the appropriate nature conservation body, meet the ecological requirements of the species and habitats and the requirements of any other nature conservation, geological or physiographical interests for which sites have been identified;
 
    (b) the maintenance of habitats in, or their restoration to, favourable conservation status;
 
    (c) the maintenance of populations of species in, or their restoration to, favourable conservation status; and
 
    (d) the maintenance of a healthy natural environment.
      (4) In this section and in all other sections of this Act-
 
 
    "appropriate nature conservation body" means-
 
      (a) in England, the Nature Conservancy Council;
 
      (b) in Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage; and
 
      (c) in Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales.
 
    "favourable conservation status" has the same meaning as in EU Council Directive 92/43/EEC; and
 
    "the Act of 1981" means the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Powers of entry for authorised persons.     2. - (1) For the purpose of discharging any function under the Act of 1981 the Secretary of State or an appropriate nature conservation body may authorise a person to enter any land to which that function relates, provided that in the opinion of the person authorising such entry-
 
 
    (a) the entry is necessary to enable the proper discharge of that function; and
 
    (b) other methods of discharging that function have been tried and have failed or in the opinion of the person authorising the entry would be likely to fail.
      (2) The Secretary of State may make regulations governing the use of powers of entry under this section, including guidance on the payment of compensation in the event of any damage caused by the action or negligence of a person authorised under this section when entering land.
 
Species and habitat action plans.     3. - (1) The Secretary of State shall prepare, maintain and periodically review species and habitat action plans which shall contain-
 
 
    (a) in the case of species action plans, measurable targets in terms of species numbers, range and productivity as regards any priority species; and
 
    (b) in the case of habitat action plans, measurable targets of habitat extent, quality and distribution as regards any priority habitat type
  and shall take such action as he deems necessary for the attainment of such targets.
 
      (2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, the Secretary of State shall by order designate those species and habitat types which shall be priority species and habitat types.
 
 
Protection of species
Extension of powers to protect species at sea.     4. The Secretary of State shall by order extend enforcement powers under Part 1 of the Act of 1981 in respect of offences committed at sea to-
 
 
    (a) members of Her Majesty's Coastguard,
 
    (b) persons appointed for that purpose by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise,
 
    (c) persons appointed for that purpose by sea fishery authorities, and
 
    (d) any other bodies or persons that he considers appropriate.
Protection for species outside sites of special scientific interest.     5. - (1) The Act of 1981 is amended as follows.
 
      (2) In Part 1 (Wildlife) after the word "intentionally", in each place where it occurs, there is inserted the words "or recklessly".
 
      (3) In section 9 (Protection of certain wild animals) after subsection 4(b) there is inserted the following new subsections-
 
 
    "(c) damages or destroys, or obstructs access to, any place which any wild marine mammal included in Schedule 5 uses for feeding or breeding; or
 
    (d) disturbs any such marine mammal at any time.".
      (4) In section 27 (1) (Interpretation of Part 1) after the word "plant" in the last place where it occurs there is inserted the words "at any stage of its biological cycle".
 
 
Protection of sites of special interest
Orders relating to management of certain land.     6. - (1) Where in relation to any area notified under section 28 of the Act of 1981 it appears to the appropriate nature conservation body that it is expedient for securing relevant conservation purposes to serve a management order on the owner or occupier of the land to which the notification applies they may, subject to the provisions of this section, make such an order.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State shall make regulations regarding the use by nature conservation bodies of their powers under subsection (1) above and regarding the operation of management orders.
 
      (3) Where it appears to the appropriate nature conservation body that an act or omission by an owner or occupier of land which is not within a site of special scientific interest will cause or is likely to cause significant damage to that site, the appropriate nature conservation body or the Secretary of State may order the owner or occupier-
 
 
    (a) to cease, or
 
    (b) to carry out
  any operation specified in the order.
 
      (4) No order shall be made under subsection (3) above unless the appropriate nature conservation body or the Secretary of State is satisfied that there is no practicable alternative to making that order.
 
      (5) In this section "significant damage" means damage which endangers the survival of the flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features by reason of which the land is of special scientific interest.
 
Special protection for certain areas of special interest.     7. For subsection (2) of section 29 of the Act of 1981 there is substituted-
 
 
    "(2) Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (1) apply to any land which in the opinion of the Secretary of State is of special interest by reason of any of its flora, fauna, or geological or physiographical features."
 
Penalties.     8. Where a person is convicted of an offence under this Act he shall be liable to a fine not exceeding £20,000 and in addition to this the court by which he is convicted may make an order requiring him to carry out, within such period as may be specified in the order, such operations for the purpose of restoring the land in respect of which the offence was committed to its former condition, or if this is not reasonably practicable to a condition as may be specified in the order, provided that the court has satisfied itself that the order is both reasonable and practical in the circumstances of the case.
 
Bye-laws.     9. - (1) Subject to anything in regulations made under subsection (2) below, the appropriate nature conservation bodies may make bye-laws for the purpose of discharging their functions under the Act of 1981.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State shall, after consulting such persons as he deems appropriate, make regulations regarding the circumstances in which bye-laws may be made and regarding any rights that may not be contravened by those bye-laws.
 
Designation of local wildlife sites.     10. - (1) Subject to guidance issued under subsection (2) below, a local authority may designate areas within its boundaries identified for their substantial nature conservation interest as local wildlife sites.
 
      (2) The Secretary of State shall issue guidance on the criteria and processes to be used by local authorities in designating local wildlife sites.
 
      (3) The Secretary of State shall make regulations setting out the protection to be afforded to local wildlife sites.
 
Financial support for certain designated sites.     11. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to make financial provision for the management and maintenance of designated areas of special interest and local wildlife sites.
 
Planning controls.     12. There shall be a presumption against the granting or deeming of any planning permission on or affecting any land which has been notified under section 28 or 29 of the Act of 1981 unless in the opinion of the local planning authority the granting or deeming of such permission is necessary-
 
 
    (a) in order to further an overriding national interest; or
 
    (b) in the interests of health and safety; or
 
    (c) to further the nature conservation interests of the land,
  provided that nothing in this section prevents the granting or deeming of any planning permission which will, in the opinion of the appropriate nature conservation body, have no effect or a negligible effect on the nature conservation interests of that land.
 
Old mining permissions.     13. - (1) The Secretary of State may, subject to subsection 2 below, amend or revoke any mining permission which in his opinion is contrary to the relevant conservation purposes and which was granted before the coming into force of this Act.
 
      (2) Before exercising his powers under subsection (1) above the Secretary of State shall-
 
 
    (a) give any person holding the mining permission the opportunity to make representations to him and shall consider all such representations;
 
    (b) satisfy himself that the proposed amendment or revocation is necessary to protect an area of special scientific interest; and
 
    (c) determine the amount of compensation, if any, that should be paid to any person as a result of the proposed amendment or revocation.
Planning controls on undertakers.     14. - (1) A relevant undertaker shall be required to apply for planning permission before carrying out any operation, in respect of which any other person would be required to apply for such permission, on any land which has been designated under Part 2 of the Act of 1981, provided that this section shall not apply in relation to anything done in an emergency where particulars of the operation and of the nature of the emergency are notified to the appropriate nature conservation body as soon as practicable after the operation has commenced.
 
      (2) In this section "relevant undertaker" has the meaning given in section 262 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
 
 
General
Regulations, etc.     15. Any power of the Secretary of State to make regulations or orders which is conferred by section 2(2), 3(2), 4, 6(2), 9(2) or 10(3) of this Act is exercisable by statutory instrument which shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
 
Expenses.     16. There shall be paid out of monies provided by Parliament-
 
 
    (a) any expenses incurred by the Secretary of State under this Act; and
 
    (b) any increase attributable to this Act in the sums payable out of monies so provided under any other Act.
Corresponding provision for Northern Ireland.     17. An Order in Council under paragraph 1(1)(b) of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974 which states that it is made only for purposes corresponding to those of this Act-
 
 
    (a) shall not be subject to paragraph 1(4) and (5) of that Schedule (affirmative resolution of both Houses of Parliament), but
 
    (b) shall be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
Short title.     18. This Act may be cited as the Wildlife Act 1998.
 
 

 
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Prepared 12 November 1998