Please note, some of the guidance in this section of the website is out of date and currently under review.

More information on European work can be found on our Europe Pages.

The UK is a Contracting Party to the following European conventions and legislative instruments:

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (external link)
The objective of the Bonn Convention is the conservation of migratory species worldwide. In order to avoid any migratory species becoming endangered, contracting parties must endeavour to provide immediate protection for migratory species included in Appendix I. To protect endangered migratory species, contracting parties to the Convention will also endeavour: to conserve or restore the habitats of endangered species; to prevent, remove, compensate for or minimise the adverse effects of activities or obstacles that impede the migration of the species; and to the extent feasible and appropriate, to prevent, reduce or control factors that are endangering or are likely to further endanger the species.

The Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (PDF)
States that under Article 11(2)(b) that each Contracting Party to the Convention undertakes to "strictly control the introduction of non-native species".

Directive on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (external link)
(EC Habitats Directive) Article 22 of this Directive (92/43/EC) requires Member States to "ensure that the deliberate introduction into the wild of any species which is not native to their territory is regulated so as not to prejudice natural habitats within their natural range or the wild native fauna and flora and, if they consider it necessary, prohibit such introduction."

Directive on the conservation of wild birds (external link)
(EC Birds Directive) Article 11 of this Directive (79/409/EC) states that "Member States shall see that any introduction of species of bird which do not occur naturally in the wild state in the European territory of the member states does not prejudice the local flora and fauna."

EC Wildlife Trade Regulations (external link)
CITES (external link) is implemented in the EU through the Wildlife Trade Regulations. Currently these are Council Regulation 338/97/EC (external link) on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (the Basic Regulation) and Commission Regulation 865/2006/EC (external link) laying down detailed rules concerning the implementation of Council Regulation 338/97/EC (the Implementing Regulation). Suspension regulations including 997/2010/EC (external link) (5 November 2010) and Regulation 359/2009/EC (external link) (30 April 2009) suspend the introduction into the Community of certain species from certain countries. Four animals species have been banned from import into the EU but there is no restriction on movement between Member States or holding:

  1. Red-earred Terrapin or Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans)
  2. American Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus)
  3. Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
  4. American Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Water Framework Directive and guidance
This establishes a framework for national measures to achieve or maintain a good ecological status for European inland, transitional and coastal waters by 2015 and prevent their further deterioration.

Marine Strategy Framework Directive (external link) 2008/56/EC (17 June 2008)
Requires each Member State to develop a maritime strategy based on the ecosystem approach with the aim of acheiving or maintaining 'good environmental status' in the marine environment by 2021.

Plant Health Directive (external link) 2000/29/EC (8 May 2000)
Establishes protective measures against the introduction into the EU and intra-EU spread of organisms harmful to plants or plant  products.

Aquaculture Regulation (external link) 708/2007/EC (11 June 2007)
Establishes a dedicated fromework to assess and minimise the possible impact of alien and locally absent species used in aquaculture on the aquatic environment.

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