Wildlife legislation in the UK is complicated, both through its steady evolution and amendment creating numerous different acts, regulations and statutory orders, etc, but also because the Environment is a devolved function for the different country administrations in the UK. Therefore different legislation (and policy) has developed in the different countries of the UK. It is also further complicated by the interaction between national, European and international legislation and jurisprudence. Different levels of protection apply to different species.

Follow the links below to see summaries which identify the protection afforded to reptile and amphibian species in England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man through nature conservation legislation; we have not addressed site/habitat protection mechanisms. Some additional protection can be afforded through animal welfare legislation and through other measures, such as land use planning regimes.

UK Overview

England and Wales


Northern Ireland

Isle of Man

7th Quinquennial Review of Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)