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Events Environmental Law 26th Apr 2023, 09:00 to 27th Apr 2023, 13:00

An introductory course to Wildlife Law for newly qualified environmental professionals in a development context

This is a legal course for newly qualified environmental professionals working in a development context, including recent ecology graduates working for ecological consultancies and planning authorities / anyone requiring refresher training in the foundations to wildlife law in England and Wales.

It presents the law in a practical way, focussing on practical application of the bits that development professionals need to know.

The two half-day course (both online via Zoom) sessions will be as follows:

  • Wednesday 26 April 2023: 9:00am – 1:00pm – Introduction to Wildlife Law Part 1 (length: 4 hours with breaks)
  • Thursday 27 April 2023: 9:00am – 1:00pm – Introduction to Wildlife Law Part 2 (length: 4 hours with breaks)

Register your place here

First Half Day (Part 1)


Introduction to environmental law including:

The state of nature in the UK

  • What is environmental law?
  • The relationship between science (and scientific uncertainty) and environmental law
  • Public law principles and the role of the courts
  • Environmental law principles (precautionary principle, polluter pays principle, preventative action principle and rectification at source)
  • The mitigation hierarchy

Horizon scanning:

  • The impact of Brexit/post Brexit developments and potential amendments to the Habitats Regulations
  • Developments in international wildlife law (including the CBD COP 15 and the Global Biodiversity Framework, 30 by 30 etc)
  • New environmental Improvement Plan published in January 2023
  • The Nature Recovery Green Paper and a proposed new consolidated approach to terrestrial protected sites and protected species
  • Natural capital and green investment

Local Wildlife Sites / SINCs

  • Legal and policy context
  • Defra Guidance
  • Interface with developer’s Environmental Statements / Ecological Impact Assessments

Sites of Special Scientific Interest

  • Key documents
  • Landowner duties and criminal offences
  • Public criminal offences
  • Public body duties and criminal offences
  • Public body duties when consenting works
  • Planning policy protection

European sites

  • Relationship between SSSIs and European sites
  • The basics of the Habitats Regulations Assessment process for competent authorities authorising or undertaking plans and projects, including:
  • Screening
  • Appropriate assessment
  • In-combination assessments
  • Mitigation
  • Integrity test
  • Derogation tests
  • Compensatory habitats

How the courts approach technical/scientific judgments under the Habitats Regulations

Second Half Day (Part 2)

Protected Species

  • Introduction
    • Key licensing principles
    • Criminal and licence breach offences
    • Enforcement
    • Strategy for developers: precautionary methods of working vs licences
    • Do you need a licence?
    • Licensing tests and NE policies
    • District level licensing
    • Planning regime
  • Surveying:
    • Purpose of surveying
    • National policy / guidance
    • Species specific guidelines
    • Wild birds:
    • Overall scheme of bird protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
    • Key offences / defences in a development context
    • Licenses
    • Individual licences
    • Class licences
  • Non-bird protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (focussing on non-EPS reptiles, water voles and plants):
    • Key offences / defences in a development context
    • Licences
  • Badgers:
    • Key offences / defences in a development context
    • Licences
    • Natural England guidance
  • European Protected Species:
    • Overall scheme of protection
    • Key offences / defences in a development context
    • Licensing
    • Offences/defences relating to licence breaches
    • NE’s European Protected Species licensing policies
  • Environmental Damage Regulations
    • Brief overview of the regime including the definition of significant environmental damage
    • Grounds of appeal


£350 per ticket plus VAT (limited spaces). These prices include a booking fee.

All course materials will be provided.

Places are limited so we recommend that you book your place as soon as possible.

To book your place please click the link above. Note that you will be directed to the Eventbrite website in order to pay and reserve your place on this course.

Please note that tickets may only be changed or cancelled up to seven days before the seminar is due to take place. After that date no refunds will be given or changes made.

Please also note that we do not record or provided recordings of our online courses.


Richard Broadbent

Richard is the former Head of Legal Services at Natural England and has worked on a number of high-profile nationally significant infrastructure, planning, and species licencing cases. These include nuclear power stations, offshore windfarms, port developments and HS2 as well as judicial review challenges against Natural England. Richard worked with the Law Commission on the creation of conservation covenants and with Defra on the Environment Act 2021.

Testimonials from our 2022 online courses

  • “Let’s have more of the same, great courses as always.”
  • “A very useful workshop covering a topic for which there is much to address and much of which is still largely subjective at this stage”
  • “An excellent course – pitched perfectly and extremely informative”
  • “Great overview of the EA 2021, explained well to give insight how this act will work in the future”
  • “Just wanted to say what an excellent course – really interesting and lots to think about.”
  • “I’ll be highly recommending it to friends and colleagues”
  • “As always a very good course and a lot of useful nuggets of information”
  • Any dietary requirements etc.

Client service

‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.

Our values


Talk to us

Freeths are a leading national law firm with 12 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?

Contact: 03301 001 014

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