Protected Species Register

The Sussex Protected Species Register (PSR) consists of species of plants, fungi and animals that are protected under Schedules 5, 6 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and other legislation.

Records of these species and where they have been recorded are held on the Record Centre’s database and are included in our desktop biodiversity reports. PSR data are updated weekly.

Some species are both protected AND rare and therefore show up in the PSR and the Rare Species Inventory (RSI) reports. Reports to enquirers may reflect this relationship between rarity and protection, with records for the same species at a given location appearing in both reports.

  • Bat, bird, badger and otter records are not included in the PSR. Bat and bird records are included in separate inventories, while badger and otter records are not included in SxBRC reports.
  • Protected Species Register records are labelled so that only one record per species per grid reference is included in a SxBRC report. This will usually be the most up to date record.
  • If a protected species record appears in the desktop biodiversity report it does not mean that the species is still present. It means that the protected species was recorded last at that time and place by the recorder listed. The implications of the record should be further evaluated, and a survey to establish the current status of the species might be required.
  • If there is no record of any particular protected species, this does not confirm that the species is absent from the site in question. It may mean that it has not been recorded, that the site has not been surveyed for this species, or that the Record Centre has not been informed of its presence.

Wildlife Protection Legislation in England

Legislation that protects wildlife in England exists at the European and national level.

European Law

The Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979) was aimed at ensuring conservation and protection of all wild plants and animals, increasing cooperation between states, and affording special protection to the most vulnerable or threatened species. It was implemented by the EU Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC) and the EU Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC).

ANNEX II lists animal and plant species whose conservation requires the designation of special areas of conservation.

ANNEX IV lists animal and plant species in need of strict protection.

ANNEX V lists animal and plant species whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures.

National Law

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), strengthened by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, are together the most important legislation aimed at protecting wildlife in England. The Wildlife and Countryside Act is divided into four parts, details of which are available on Naturenet.

Schedule 1: Birds

Please refer to the Sussex Bird Inventory explanation sheet.

Schedule 5: Protected animals (other than birds)

Intentional or reckless killing, injuring, taking, possessing, disturbing and selling (including parts and derivatives) as well as damaging, destroying or obstructing access to any structure or place of refuge, etc. are prohibited. NB. Protection of some species is limited to certain sections of the Act, which are indicated in the lists as follows:

Protection limited to intentional killing, injury or taking.
Protection limited to possessing and controlling
Protection limited to damaging, destroying or obstructing access to any structure or place used by the animal for shelter or protection.
Protection limited to disturbing the animal while it is occupying any structure or place which it uses for shelter or protection.
Protection limited to selling , offering for sale, possessing or transporting for purpose of sale, or advertising for sale, any live or dead animal, or any part of, or anything derived from such an animal. This includes Common Frogs, Pool Frogs, Common Toads and both Smooth and Palmate Newts. Records of these species are not kept on the Protected Species Register.

Schedule 6: Animals which may not be killed or taken by certain methods

Methods include traps and nets, poisons, automatic weapons, electrical devices, smokes/gases and various others. Even humane trapping for research requires a licence.

Schedule 8: Protected plants and fungi

Intentional picking, uprooting, destroying, trading (including parts and derivatives), etc. are prohibited. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, all wild plants in Britain are protected from intentional uprooting by an unauthorised person. Land owners, land occupiers, persons authorised by either of these, or persons authorised in writing by the Local Authority for the area are however exempt. NB. Protection for some species may be limited to certain Sections of the Act and where this is the case it is indicated in the lists as follows:

Legislation protecting Badgers

The Protection of the Badgers Act 1992 confers protection on badgers, covering virtually any deliberate interference with the animals themselves or their setts. Further details are available from the Office of Public Sector Information website.

Badger records are not provided by the Protected Species Register. For further details about Badgers in Sussex please contact the Badger Trust (Sussex) on:

07910 198720

Legislation protecting birds.

Please refer to our PDF document detailing birds, their statuses and the law.

Back to Species Inventories page.