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Safeguarding European Protected Species


A number of changes have been made since 2007 to Habitats Regulations that increase the legal protection given to protected species wherever they are found in England. Several of the species covered by the Regulations are found in woodland, and it therefore has implications for how woodlands are managed and forestry operations carried out.

The Forestry Commission in England has been developing the means of implementing these changes and embedding them within the forestry sector. We are committed to increasing the sustainable management of England's woodlands, not least for the biodiversity protected by the Habitats Regulations. As such we have worked with partners to ensure that this amendment is as far as possible drawn into best practice guidance for sustainable forestry, rather than being an additional regulatory measure.

Where the changes will impact

The amended Regulations require changes to the management of woodlands and forestry operations in areas where protected species are found. The species that can occur in England's woodland are:

  • All 17 species of bat
  • Dormouse
  • Great Crested Newt
  • Otter
  • Sand Lizard
  • Smooth Snake

Updated guidance for each of these species, except for dormouse, is provided in the document library.  The 2007 interim guidance for dormouse is provided; this will be replaced in due course by the updated guidance. 

(The Natterjack Toad and some of the plant species, such as Yellow Marsh Saxifrage, may rarely occur in woodlands or be affected by forest operations.)

Last updated: 14th June 2016