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Wildlife and Countryside

Homepage > Wildlife & Countryside

Introduction to Wildlife and Countryside

These pages provide information about Defra's work on the conservation of wildlife and landscape, and on countryside recreation. Our aims are improved enjoyment of an attractive and well managed countryside for all; and effective conservation of wildlife. These are in line with the principles of sustainable development which inform all of our work.

Latest news and current issues

22 May 2008 - News release: Bats to help measure the UK’s biodiversity. Further information on biodiversity.

10 January 2008 - Invitation to attend the Zoos Forum Open Meeting in Bristol on Tuesday 26 February 2008

19 November 2007 – Defra transfers responsibility for considering applications for camping exemption certificates and caravan exemption certificates in England to Natural England.

1 October 2007 - Updated: Dangerous Wild Animals Act

1 October 2007 - Rights of way - Commencement of Section 69 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

28 September 2007 - Details of Deer close season

1 August 2007 - Information and guidance on the changes to the Habitats Regulations coming into force on 21st August is now available.

24 July 2007 - Ecosystems Communications Research - Defra has published a qualitative research on the public understanding of the concepts and language around ecosystem services and the natural environment.

3 July 2007 - Consultation launched on 3 July 2007 on updating the commons registers: part 1 of the Commons Act 2006

2 July 2007 - Proposed South Downs National Park update

14 June 2007 - Tracking change in the character of the English landscape report published.

8 June 2007 - Consultation on the implementation of the right to apply for orders to extinguish and divert public rights of way, and associated rights of appeal launched. Views invited by 31 August 2007

8 June 2007 - SSSI diversion provisions commenced 21 May 2007 and guidance published online

13 March 2007 - Ecosystems Approach Project research pages have recently been updated with the addition of Research Meetings notes for 17/01/2007 and for the Phase 2 projects, a review paper for Project NR0107.

28 February 2007 - Non-native species pages updated.

27 February 2007 - New rules for the registration of town or village greens under the Commons Act 2006 are published today.

25 January 2007 - Consultation on the power for National Park Authorities to make Traffic Regulation Orders launched.

24 January 2007 - New Marine Biodiversity pages added to site.

11 October 2006 - Official launch of Natural England, a new and powerful government agency created to champion the natural environment.

22 September 2006 - Commons Act: Defra has made the first commencement order which brings into force certain provisions (generally ancillary) of the Act with effect from 1 October 2006.

19 July 2006 - Commons Bill received Royal Assent.

8 May 2006 - Consultation on Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2006 launched.

10 April 2006 - Local Sites: guidance on their identification, selection and management published.

4 April 2006 - The first World Migratory Bird Day [75KB] pdf file is announced.

19 January 2006 - New guidance on the management of byways and rights of way published.

8 December 2005 - Safeguarding Sea Life: the joint UK response to the Review of Marine Nature Conservation published

8 November 2005 - Add your comments to the Natural Resources Open Forum before it closes on Friday 18 November.

19 October 2005 - Action plan and code of practice on snares published.

17 October 2005 - The Statement of Needs for Defra's Evidence and Innovation Strategy pdf file (52 KB) as it relates to our strategic outcome 'More and better access to the natural environment for recreation, especially for those who find it difficult to enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits which access to nature can bring'. This is relevant to Defra's consultation on our proposed Evidence and Innovation Strategy 2005-08 which was published on 14 October 2005 (see link below).

14 October 2005 - Consultation on Defra's proposed Evidence and Innovation Strategy 2005-08

27 September 2005 - Guidance for Registers of modifications, applications and declarations

8 September 2005 - Summary of responses to the consultation on the review of Part 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

9 August 2005 - A Good Practice Guide on Integrated Transport Measures in National Parks has been produced following a joint study with DfT and the Welsh Assembly Government

4 August 2005 - Consultation on diversions of rights of way

2 August 2005 - Consultation: Confirmation of byelaws relating to countryside recreation: Proposals for change

28 June 2005 - Commons Bill published following its introduction to the House of Lords.

27 June 2005 - COTES Regulations (Defra news release)
Biodiversity Minister Jim Knight, announced that new laws will come into effect on 21 July 2005 that will include stronger powers for police officers in fighting wildlife crime. The new measures include powers of arrest, entry, search and seizure.

16 June 2005 - Cetacean Bycatch Observer Monitoring System: a research project to pilot a multi-fishery bycatch observer scheme for two years began in February 2005. Minutes of the first Steering Group meeting can be viewed here

3 June 2005 - Results of consultation on integration of land-use planning regime and Habitats Directive on conservation of European Protected Species. Announcement of transfer of European Protected Species licensing function and new contact details for applying for EPS licences from 1 July.

30 March 2005 - Nature conservation guidance on offshore windfarm developments

3 March 2005 - New action against dangerous invasive non-native species

1 March 2005 - New Forest National Park created today

17 February 2005 - Commons Bill: in November 2004 Defra ran two workshops for stakeholders on the measures which are expected to be included in the Commons Bill. Further information on the proposed Commons Bill. During 2003 Defra ran a consultation on agricultural use and management of common land: the full response and summary of responses have been published.

13 January 2005 - Biodiversity strategy annual stocktake for 2003-2004 published.

4 January 2005 - Consultation: Fourth quinquennial review of Schedules 5 & 8 of the Wildlife And Countryside Act 1981

Page last modified: 11 March 2008

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs