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INSIGHT: Developers: about to start a new project?

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How much do you know about the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (the Act)?

You might well ask: “what’s that got to do with me?” but if you are a developer intending to start work on an overgrown site, you need to pause for a minute and find out.

You should already be aware that the Act protects animals such as adders and bats (although there are many more - just see Schedule 5). However, the Act also protects wild birds and their nests and makes it an offence to kill or injure any wild bird or take or damage their eggs. It is also an offence to take, damage or destroy any nest while it is being built or used.

The nesting months can last from March until August. The practical effect of the Act is that projects starting in this period can be delayed and project programmes seriously hampered if nests are found or suspected to be on site. This can only increase the project costs.

If your site needs trees felled, hedges cut down or scrub cleared, make sure you speak to an expert in good time. (Get in touch if you want us to put you in touch with a suitable expert.)

Click here to read the sections of the Act that apply to bird life.

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.

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