protected plant

Protected Plants

As experienced wildlife consultants our botanists specialise in dealing with all legal and conservation issues surrounding protected plants

Certain plant species have special protection under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), as well as other legislation and planning policy, because of their rarity and vulnerability.

Of the 4800 or so flowering plants in the UK, 113 of the most vulnerable receive special legal protection. Those listed include lady’s slipper orchid, Cheddar pink and branched horsetail. Most of these species inhabit very specialised or rare habitats, but some, for example field wormwood, may turn up on a brownfield site in an industrial estate. Some have been made rare through human depredation, such as the Killarney fern, while others are naturally rare such as diapensia, which is restricted to a single mountain top.

Almost all have very localised distributions intimately tied to the particular geology and land use of their area, and may occur as part of a community of interesting flora and invertebrate fauna.

The Law

One-hundred-and-eighty-six species are protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended); these are mainly flowering plants, mosses and liverworts, and a few fungi, lichens and algae. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) extends European protection to nine of these species. Penalties for contravention of the Wildlife and Countryside Act may be a £5000 fine and six months imprisonment for each offence.

In addition 250 species of lower plants and fungi, and 152 species of higher plants, are protected through planning policy as ‘Species of Principal Importance for the Conservation of Biodiversity’ as defined by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act (2006). Planning policy dictates that these species of principal importance should be considered as part of the planning process. Therefore enhancements for such species should be incorporated into development schemes.

Expert Botanists

We employ a number of botanical specialists who together have a wealth of experience covering all habitats found in the UK.  All of our key botanists have been awarded Field Identification Skills Certificates (FISC) of levels four or five. FISC levels are awarded by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) and The University of Manchester, and certify an individual’s competency in field botany. Level five is the highest certifiable level.

Our regular botanical work includes site surveys, lower plant surveys, NVC surveys, species and site monitoring, aquatic macrophyte surveys, invasive non-native plant assessments, writing habitat management plans, habitat creation, restoration and translocation and applying for licences relating to protected plant species. We have also undertaken more unusual projects including assessments of algal assemblages on tidal river walls, hay content analysis (as part of trading standards litigation in the poisoning of horses) and collection of seed of Suffolk lungwort and holly-leaved najad (under licence) on behalf of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew.

SSIP Link-up Constructionline Builders Profile