The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) protects all wild birds, their nests and their eggs in Wales. Schedule 1 species have extra protection from disturbance at their nests. We grant licences so you can work within the law
Any survey work you had planned as part of a species licence application should only be undertaken where absolutely necessary following the latest social distancing guidelines from the government.
- Check the latest guidance provided by environmental businesses such as the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the RSPB or the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM).
- As it may not be possible to update your surveys this season, this year we will extend this and accept surveys from the last three years.
- You should complete your survey at the first available and appropriate opportunity once restrictions are lifted.
If you have further question you can contact our species team via email on email@example.com.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) (known as ‘the Act’) implemented the European Birds Directive of 1979, along with the Bern Convention of 1979. This page cannot cover all aspects of the law or bird ecology, but is an introduction to show how you can help to protect these species.
All wild birds, their nests and their eggs are protected under the Section 1 of the Act. It is an offence intentionally to:
- Kill, injure or take any wild bird
- Take, damage or destroy the nest of a Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle or Osprey (even if disused)
- Take, damage or destroy the nest of any wild bird whilst it is in use or being built
- Take, damage or destroy an egg or any wild bird
- Or to possess any live or dead wild bird or the egg of any wild bird, or any derivative
Furthermore, many rare birds are listed on Schedule 1, which makes it an offence intentionally or recklessly to:
- Disturb a Schedule 1 bird while it is building a nest or is in, on or near a nest containing eggs or young; or
- Disturb dependent young of such a bird
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) issues licences for specific purposes, so that you can undertake legitimate work without breaking the law. We can issue licences for the following purposes (Section 16(1) of the Act):
- Scientific, research or educational purposes
- Ringing or marking, or examining rings or marks
- Conserving wild birds
- Re-population / re-introduction of wild birds
- Conserving flora and fauna
- Protecting any collection of wild birds
- Falconry and aviculture
- Public exhibition / competition
- Public health, public safety, air safety
- Preventing spread of disease
- Preventing serious damage to crops, fisheries etc
Permits for ringing birds are issued by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).
You can apply to NRW for a Schedule 1 bird licence for nest recording, for example, or for research / survey or photography licences. See ‘Schedule 1 application form’.
Please refer to ‘Non-piscivorous birds application form’ if you need to take or kill other birds (non-piscivorous) for the following reasons:
- Preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables, fruit, growing timber, fisheries or inland waters
- Preventing the spread of disease
- Preserving public health or public or air safety
- Conserving wild birds
Certain bird species are covered by General licences which allow their control for specific purposes only. See ‘General licences - birds’ for more information.