Search Legislation

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

What Version

 Help about what version

Advanced Features

 Help about advanced features

Status:

There are multiple versions of this provision on screen. These apply to different geographical extents. Help about Status

Close

Status

The term provision is used to describe a definable element in a piece of legislation that has legislative effect – such as a Part, Chapter or section.

Sometimes the text of a provision is changed, but the change(s) only apply to a particular geographical area. In some limited cases where this happens, the editorial team create a version for each different geographical area. Multiple versions are only created in this way where the change in question is a substitution so that there are different versions of the text for the different extents. Insertions and repeals of text do not give rise to such multiple versions.

Changes to legislation:

There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations. Help about Changes to Legislation

Close

Changes to Legislation

Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Changes and effects yet to be applied to :

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Changes and effects

This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the specific provision you are viewing.

Changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act associated Parts and Chapters:

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Changes and effects

This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.

Whole provisions yet to be inserted into this Act (including any effects on those provisions):

Commencement Orders yet to be applied to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

 Help about changes and effects
Close

Commencement Orders

This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.

Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

16 Power to grant licences.E+W

(1)Sections 1, 5, 6(3), 7 and 8 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done—

[F1(a)for scientific, research or educational purposes;]

(b)for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on, wild birds;

(c)for the purpose of conserving wild birds;

[F2(ca)for the purposes of the re-population of an area with, or the re-introduction into an area of, wild birds, including any breeding necessary for those purposes;

(cb)for the purpose of conserving flora or fauna;]

(d)for the purpose of protecting any collection of wild birds;

(e)for the purposes of falconry or aviculture;

(f)for the purposes of any public exhibition or competition;

(g)for the purposes of taxidermy;

(h)for the purpose of photography;

(i)for the purposes of preserving public health or public or air safety;

(j)for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or

(k)for the purposes of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber [F3, fisheries or inland waters],

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

[F4(1A)The appropriate authority—

(a)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that, as regards that purpose, there is no other satisfactory solution; and

(b)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in paragraphs (e) to (h) of that subsection otherwise than on a selective basis and in respect of a small number of birds.]

(2)Section 1 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done for the purpose of providing food for human consumption in relation to—

(a)a gannet on the island of Sula Sgeir; or

(b)a gull’s egg or, at any time before 15th April in any year, a lapwing’s egg,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

(3)Sections 9(1), (2) [F5, (4) and (4A)], 11(1) and (2) and 13(1) do not apply to anything done—

(a)for scientific or educational purposes;

(b)for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on,wild animals;

(c)for the purpose of conserving wild animals or wild plants or introducing them to particular areas;

(d)for the purpose of protecting any zoological or botanical collection;

(e)for the purpose of photography;

(f)for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety;

(g)for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or

(h)for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

(4)The following provisions, namely—

(a)section 6(1) and (2);

(b)sections 9(5) and 13(2); and

(c)[F6sections 14 and 14ZA],

do not apply to anything done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

(5)Subject to [F7subsections (5A) and (6)], a licence under the foregoing provisions of this section—

(a)may be, to any degree, general or specific;

(b)may be granted either to persons of a class or to a particular person;

(c)may be subject to compliance with any specified conditions;

(d)may be modified or revoked at any time by the appropriate authority; and

(e)subject to paragraph (d), shall be valid for the period stated in the licence;

and the appropriate authority may charge therefor such reasonable sum (if any) as they may determine.

[F8(5A)A licence under subsection (1) which authorises any action in respect of wild birds—

(a)shall specify the species of wild birds in respect of which, the circumstances in which, and the conditions subject to which, the action may be taken;

(b)shall specify the methods, means or arrangements which are authorised or required for the taking of the action; and

(c)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.]

(6)A licence under subsection [F9(2) or (3)] which authorises any person to kill wild birds or wild animals—

(a)shall specify the area within which, and the methods by which the wild birds or wild animals may be killed; and

(b)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.

(7)It shall be a defence in proceedings for an offence under section 8(b) of the M1Protection of Animals Act 1911 or section 7(b) of the M2Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 (which restrict the placing on land of poison and poisonous substances) to show that—

(a)the act alleged to constitute the offence was done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence issued under subsection (1) or (3); and

(b)any conditions specified in the licence were complied with.

(8)For the purposes of a licence granted under the foregoing provisions of this section, the definition of a class of persons may be framed by reference to any circumstances whatever including, in particular, their being authorised by any other person.

[F10(8A)In this section, in the case of a licence under any of subsections (1) to (4), so far as relating to the restricted English inshore region (see subsection (12)), “the appropriate authority” means the Marine Management Organisation.]

(9)[F11Except as provided by subsection (8A),] In this section “the appropriate authority” means—

(a)in the case of a licence under [F12any of paragraphs (a) to (cb)] of subsection (1), either the Secretary of State after consultation with whichever one of the advisory bodies he considers is best able to advise him as to whether the licence should be granted, or the [F13relevant][F14conservation body] ;

(b)in the case of a licence under any of paragraphs (d) to (g) of subsection (1), subsection (2) or paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State after such consultation as aforesaid;

(c)in the case of a licence under paragraph (h) of subsection (1) or any of paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (3), the [F13relevant][F14conservation body];

(d)in the case of a licence under paragraph (i), (j) or (k) of subsection (1) or paragraph (f), (g) or (h) of subsection (3) or a licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4) which authorises anything to be done in relation to fish or shellfish, the agriculture Minister; and

(e)in the case of any other licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State.

[F15(9A)In this section “re-population” and “re-introduction”, in relation to wild birds, have the same meaning as in [F16the Wild Birds Directive] .]

(10)The agriculture Minister—

(a)shall from time to time consult with [F17each of the [F18GB conservation bodies]] as to the exercise [F19in the area of that [F20body]] of his functions under this section; and

(b)shall not grant a licence of any description unless he has been advised by the [F21relevant [F14conservation body]] as to the circumstances in which, in their opinion, licences of that description should be granted.

[F22(11)For the purposes of this section a reference to a relevant Nature Conservancy Council is a reference to the [F14conservation body] for the area in which it is proposed to carry on the activity requiring a licence.]

[F23(12)In this section—

(a)the restricted English inshore region” means so much of the English inshore region as lies to seaward of mean low water mark;

(b)the English inshore region” has the meaning given by section 322 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Extent Information

E1This version of this provision extends to England and Wales only; a separate version has been created for Scotland only

Amendments (Textual)

F1S. 16(1)(a) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(2)(a)

F3Words in s. 16(2)(k) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(2)(c)

F4S. 16(1A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(3)

F5Words in s. 16(3) substituted (E.W.) (30.1.2001) by 2000 c. 37, ss. 81(1), 103(2), Sch. 12 para. 6

F7Words in s. 16(5) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(4)

F8S. 16(5A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(5)

F9Words in s. 16(6) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(6)

F12Words in s. 16(9)(a) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(7)

F15S. 16(9A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(8)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C1S. 16: Functions transferred (W.) (1.7.1999) by S.I. 1999/672, art. 2, Sch. 1

Marginal Citations

16 Power to grant licences.S

(1)Sections 1, 5, 6(3), 7 and 8 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done—

[F24(a)for scientific, research or educational purposes;]

(b)for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on, wild birds;

(c)for the purpose of conserving wild birds;

[F25(ca)for the purposes of the re-population of an area with, or the re-introduction into an area of, wild birds, including any breeding necessary for those purposes;

(cb)for the purpose of conserving flora or fauna;]

(d)for the purpose of protecting any collection of wild birds;

(e)for the purposes of falconry or aviculture;

(f)for the purposes of any public exhibition or competition;

(g)for the purposes of taxidermy;

(h)for the purpose of photography;

(i)for the purposes of preserving public health or public or air safety;

(j)for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or

(k)for the purposes of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber [F26, fisheries or inland waters],

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

[F27(1A)The appropriate authority—

(a)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in subsection (1) unless it is satisfied that, as regards that purpose, there is no other satisfactory solution; and

(b)shall not grant a licence for any purpose mentioned in paragraphs (e) to (h) of that subsection otherwise than on a selective basis and in respect of a small number of birds.]

(2)Section 1 and orders under section 3 do not apply to anything done for the purpose of providing food for human consumption in relation to—

(a)a gannet on the island of Sula Sgeir; or

(b)a gull’s egg F28. . . ,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

(3)Sections 9(1), (2) [F29, (4) and (4A)], 11(1) [F30, (2) and (3C)(a)] and 13(1) do not apply to anything done—

(a)for scientific [F31, research] or educational purposes;

(b)for the purpose of ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on,wild animals;

(c)for the purpose of conserving [F32wild birds,] wild animals or wild plants or introducing them to particular areas;

[F33(ca)for the purpose of conserving any area of natural habitat;]

(d)for the purpose of protecting any zoological or botanical collection;

(e)for the purpose of photography;

(f)for the purpose of preserving public health or public safety;

(g)for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease; or

(h)for the purpose of preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries,

if it is done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

(4)The following provisions, namely—

(a)section 6(1) and (2);

(b)sections 9(5) and 13(2); and

(c)[F34sections 14 and 14A],

do not apply to anything done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by the appropriate authority.

[F35(4A)The appropriate authority shall not grant a licence under subsection (4) permitting anything to be done in contravention of section 6(1) or (2) unless it is satisfied that there is no other satisfactory solution.]

(5)Subject to [F36subsections (5A) and (6)], a licence under the foregoing provisions of this section—

(a)may be, to any degree, general or specific;

(b)may be granted either to persons of a class or to a particular person;

(c)may be subject to compliance with any specified conditions;

(d)may be modified or revoked at any time by the appropriate authority; and

(e)subject to paragraph (d), shall be valid for the period stated in the licence;

and the appropriate authority may charge therefor such reasonable sum (if any) as they may determine.

[F37(5A)A licence under subsection (1) which authorises any action in respect of wild birds—

(a)shall specify the species of wild birds in respect of which, the circumstances in which, and the conditions subject to which, the action may be taken;

(b)shall specify the methods, means or arrangements which are authorised or required for the taking of the action; and

(c)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.]

(6)A licence under subsection [F38(2) or (3)] which authorises any person to kill wild birds or wild animals—

(a)shall specify the area within which, and the methods by which the wild birds or wild animals may be killed; and

(b)subject to subsection (5)(d), shall be valid for the period, not exceeding two years, stated in the licence.

(7)It shall be a defence in proceedings for an offence under section 8(b) of the M3Protection of Animals Act 1911 or section 7(b) of the M4Protection of Animals (Scotland) Act 1912 (which restrict the placing on land of poison and poisonous substances) to show that—

(a)the act alleged to constitute the offence was done under and in accordance with the terms of a licence issued under subsection (1) or (3); and

(b)any conditions specified in the licence were complied with.

(8)For the purposes of a licence granted under the foregoing provisions of this section, the definition of a class of persons may be framed by reference to any circumstances whatever including, in particular, their being authorised by any other person.

[F10(8A)In this section, in the case of a licence under any of subsections (1) to (4), so far as relating to the restricted English inshore region (see subsection (12)), “the appropriate authority” means the Marine Management Organisation.]

[F39(8B)In this section, in the case of a licence under any of subsections (1) to (4), so far as relating to the Scottish marine area, “the appropriate authority” means the Scottish Ministers.]

(9)[F40Except as provided by subsection (8B)][F11Except as provided by subsection (8A),] in this section “the appropriate authority” means—

(a)in the case of a licence under [F41any of paragraphs (a) to (cb)] of subsection (1), either the Secretary of State after consultation with whichever one of the advisory bodies he considers is best able to advise him as to whether the licence should be granted, or the [F42relevant][F43conservation body] ;

(b)in the case of a licence under any of paragraphs (d) to (g) of subsection (1), subsection (2) or paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State after such consultation as aforesaid;

(c)in the case of a licence under paragraph (h) of subsection (1) or any of paragraphs (a) to (e) of subsection (3), the [F42relevant][F43conservation body];

(d)in the case of a licence under paragraph (i), (j) or (k) of subsection (1) or paragraph (f), (g) or (h) of subsection (3) or a licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4) which authorises anything to be done in relation to fish or shellfish, the agriculture Minister; and

(e)in the case of any other licence under paragraph (c) of subsection (4), the Secretary of State.

[F44(9ZA)The Scottish Ministers may by direction delegate their power to grant licences in relation to the Scottish marine area under any of subsections (1) to (4) to Scottish Natural Heritage.

(9ZB)Delegation under subsection (9ZA) may be—

(a)in relation to a specific case,

(b)in relation to specific species of animal,

(c)in relation to a particular type of licence,

(d)in relation to a particular area.

(9ZC)A direction under subsection (9ZA) must be in writing.]

[F45(9A)In this section “re-population” and “re-introduction”, in relation to wild birds, have the same meaning as in the Directive of the Council of the European Communities dated 2nd April 1979 (No.79/409/EEC) on the conservation of wild birds.]

(10)The agriculture Minister—

(a)shall from time to time consult with [F46each of the [F47GB conservation bodies]] as to the exercise [F48in the area of that [F49body]] of his functions under this section; and

(b)shall not grant a licence of any description unless he has been advised by the [F50relevant [F43conservation body]] as to the circumstances in which, in their opinion, licences of that description should be granted.

[F51(11)For the purposes of this section a reference to a relevant Nature Conservancy Council is a reference to the [F43conservation body] for the area in which it is proposed to carry on the activity requiring a licence.]

[F23(12)In this section—

(a)the restricted English inshore region” means so much of the English inshore region as lies to seaward of mean low water mark;

(b)the English inshore region” has the meaning given by section 322 of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.]

[F52(13)In this section, the “Scottish marine area” has the meaning given by section 1(1) of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (asp 5).]

Annotations: Help about Annotation
Close

Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Extent Information

E2This version of this provision extends to Scotland only; a separate version has been created for England and Wales only

Amendments (Textual)

F24S. 16(1)(a) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(2)(a)

F26Words in s. 16(2)(k) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(2)(c)

F27S. 16(1A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(3)

F36Words in s. 16(5) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(4)

F37S. 16(5A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(5)

F38Words in s. 16(6) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(6)

F41Words in s. 16(9)(a) substituted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(7)

F45S. 16(9A) inserted (30.11.1995) by S.I. 1995/2825, reg. 3(8)

Modifications etc. (not altering text)

C2S. 16: Functions transferred (W.) (1.7.1999) by S.I. 1999/672, art. 2, Sch. 1

Marginal Citations

Back to top

Options/Help

Print Options

You have chosen to open The Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open The Whole Act as a PDF

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.

Would you like to continue?

You have chosen to open the Whole Act

The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.

Would you like to continue?

Close

Legislation is available in different versions:

Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.

Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.

Close

See additional information alongside the content

Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.

Close

Opening Options

Different options to open legislation in order to view more content on screen at once

Close

More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enactedversion that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources
Close

More Resources

Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • correction slips

Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including:

  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • links to related legislation and further information resources