< > LUK10 - Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

General Information

The information provided within these pages provides a background to the legislation issues.

Date 2000
Wildpro "Organisations & Website" Reference
Text Availability (e.g. HMSO / Copyright / Public Domain etc.) HMSO: Crown Copyright. The authoritative versions of Acts are usually the "Queen's Printer" copies (often published by The Stationery Office Limited). Details of how to obtain the authoritative versions are available through Website Ref - W65 - Her Majesty's Stationary Office (HMSO)
Brief Overview / Significance With respect to wildlife, this Act provides extra protection for certain wild birds and other wild animals.

Within Schedule 12 of the Act:

  • To the offence of intentionally disturbing birds listed on Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 is added a new offence of "recklessly" disturbing such birds. This means that it does not have to be proved that the disturbance was caused deliberately; causing disturbance by the deliberate taking of an unacceptable risk or failure to notice an obvious risk are also offences.
  • To the offence of intentionally damaging any structure or place which a wild animal listed in Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 uses for shelter or protection or intentionally disturbing any such animal while in such a structure or place, is added reckless damage or disturbance. A further extension is given to protect Schedule 5 cetaceans and basking sharks by the addition of an offence of intentionally or recklessly disturbing a cetacean or basking shark in any place.

The Act also gives new powers to DETR Wildlife Inspectors in regard to entering premises in order to ascertain whether certain offences have been or are being committed and to require blood or tissue samples to be taken for DNA analysis (by a veterinary surgeon, for live birds and other animals) to determine the identity or ancestry of a specimen so long as the taking of that sample will cause no lasting harm to that specimen. 

The Act introduces the possibility of higher fines and custodial sentences of up to six months for offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 . The possibility is introduced of a custodial sentence of up to six months if imposed in Magistrates Court or up to two years in the Crown Court for releases into the wild.

(W65.w1, W66.w1)

NOTES - Amendments / Relation to other legislation

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Specific Section References

Wildpro Reference Chapter/Paragraph Title Content Page nos.

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Text from the Act


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