Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Welcome to the unofficial listing of species included in the Schedules 1 to 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The Purpose of this section is to give on-line access to the various schedules of the act in order to provide a common point of reference for those with an interest in conservation.

What is the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981?

The Wildlife and Countryside Act came in to force in 1981 and is domestic legislation for Great Britain that repeals existing wildlife legislation such as:

  • Protection of Birds Acts 1954 to 1967;
  • Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975;

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 covers the provisions made in these previous acts and provides additional provision for species and countryside protection.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 –

  • prohibits certain methods of killing or taking wild animals;
  • amends the law relating to protection of certain mammals;
  • restricts the introduction of certain animals and plants;
  • amends the Endangered Species (Import & Export)Act 1976;
  • amends the law relating to nature conservation, the countryside and National Parks
  • makes provision with respect to the Countryside Commission;
  • amends the law relating to public rights of way; and for connected purposes.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – Chapter 69 – HMSO

Currently, there is no Official on-line listing.

TheWildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is the primary legislation in Great Britain for the protection of flora, fauna and the countryside. The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order is a separate act for Northern Ireland. The Wildlife and Countryside Act includes the UK’s domestic implementation of the species protection of the European Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (79/409).

The Various schedules are provided as tables on tabbed pages. The data are from the UKWildlife Species Protection Database which contains full listings of species included in legislation, conventions, international agreements and other ‘lists’ of species protection and conservation importance.

Any comments will be gratefully received! The listings are provided ‘as-is’ and are static outputs from the database. We will be providing on-line access to the database in the near future.





Schedules 1 – 4

Birds which are protected by special penalties Schedule 1
Birds which may be killed or taken Schedule 2
Birds which may be sold Schedule 3
Birds which must be registered and ringed if kept in captivity Schedule 4

Animals which are Protected

Schedule 5 & 6

Animals which are protected Schedule 5
Animals which may not be killed or taken by certain methods Schedule 6

Plants which are protected

Schedule 8

Plants which are protected from: intentional picking, uprooting or destruction (Section 13 1a); selling, offering for sale, possessing or transporting for the purpose of sale (live or dead, part or derivative) (Section 13 2a); advertising (any of these) for buying or selling (Section 13 2b). Schedule 8

Species Established in the Wild

Schedule 9

Animals which are established in the wild Schedule 9 Part 1
Plants which are established in the wild Schedule 9 Part 2


  1. Ida Bailey says:

    There appears to be some general confusion surrounding the legal status of fat doormice (glis glis) in the uk. The natural england website claims that:

    “The edible dormouse is protected under Section 11(2) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) in that certain methods of killing or taking are prohibited except under licence.”

    However, I can find no mention of it in either schedule 5 or 6 of the countryside act on this website. Only in schedule 9 as being illegal to release. Other sites claim that it can only be killed under license.

    I don’t want to set about murdering hundreds of these but having a few in the loft it would be nice to know what is legal should there numbers get out of control.

    Please advise. Yours


  2. Rachel Maddison says:

    Hi, I was just wondering when this webpage was first upload and who wrote it? I’m using it as a reference for my A Level biology coursework and need some more information.


    Rachel :)

  3. UKW says:

    The webpage was created in March 2000 it can be cited as
    Boobyer, G. (2000). Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 | UK Legislation | Wildlife Protection | UKWildlife.com Retrieved 3 May 2012 from http://www.UKWildlife.com: http://www.ukwildlife.com/index.php/wildlife-countryside-act-1981/
    Good luck with your course!

  4. Misti Selsby says:

    I hope you can help us. We have a fantastic stag beetle and a Bat colony behind our row of houses. My neighbours and I have enjoyed watching the bats fly at night over our gardens and my son and neighbour have studied and photographed the stag beetles. Sadly a group of builders are planning to build huge houses right on top of where they live. They have no plan to save them as far as I know. It breaks my heart to see this happen. Do you have any advice on how to save them? How do you move stag beetles? Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you, Misti

  5. UKW says:

    Hi Misti – The best bet is to get in touch with your local Natural England conservation officer. They will be able to provide local and relevant advice. http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/about_us/contact_us/ – An additional approach is to make your concerns in response to any planning application and contact your local council planning department. Good luck and hope you get somewhere.

  6. Jen says:

    Sections 14(1) and 14(2) of the WCA 1981 state that it is an offence to release/allow escape of certain listed non-native animals or plant/spread/allow to grow a non-native plant into the wild. What does “the wild” mean in law? Presumably not gardens but most land is owned by someone and managed in some way.

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