03.07.21 - We have jointly published an open letter dated 28.06 21 from 35 UK-based wildlife NGOs setting out concerns about the change to the eligibility criteria for which species will be included on Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in 2021. This is also described in the attached press release.
Download the open letter here - pdf 7th Quinquennial Review - letter to JNCC plus country advisors from 30 NGOs.pdf (88 KB)
Download the press release here -
Press release JNCC 7th QQR open letter from 30 NGOs to question the change in Eligibility Criteria
23.06.21 - A template for a letter that could be sent to MPs or other representatives to raise awareness of the impact of the the 7th Quinquennial Review (QQR) of Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981)
What is the 7th Quinquennial Review?
Every five years, the statutory nature conservation bodies for the United Kingdom (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and NatureScot) review Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981. This is coordinated by the UK Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). This review provides recommendations to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to Ministers for the Environment in the Scottish Government and Welsh Government for changes to these schedules.
What is changing - the new Eligibility Criteria
Under the new criteria, the country-based nature conservation bodies will only pursue scheduling of a species when an animal or plant is in danger of extinction in Great Britain.
Why this is important!
Schedules 5 and 8 of the WCA focus on species endangerment, and selection will preferentially consider GB Red Listed species, i.e. those facing imminent threat of extinction (IUCN 2012) in GB.
This means that species where there is no evidence of decline, or have not been assessed against the IUCN national or regional Red List Criteria are not considered.
At the current time all of our widespread species are covered by Schedules 5 and 8 (c) Sale activities S.9 (5)’. This includes: common frog (Rana temporaria), common toad (Bufo bufo), Palmate Newt (Lissotriton helveticus), smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris); widespread reptiles are additionally covered by ‘Killing & injuring S.9 (1)’ slow-worm (Anguis fragilis), grass snake (Natrix Helvetica), adder (Vipera berus), and viviparous lizard (Zootoca vivipara).
You can download information on protection levels of all Schedule 5 and 8 species here: spreadsheet Current schedule 5 and 8 species and protection status 2021 (34 KB)
Under the new criteria they will be removed unless there is clear objective evidence of declines!!
In our opinion this could have the following impacts:
- There would no longer be a requirement to consider any of the widespread species (excepting Great Crested Newt) under planning protocols
- It would become legal to trade wild-caught British widespread amphibians and reptiles - which poses a huge biosecurity risk, since this could result in wild animals being moved around. We have already identified a significant threat to our native newts should Bsal enter wild populations in the UK (it is already present in captive collections), a disease that has led to >99% mortality in fire salamanders in The Netherlands and Belgium - for more on this please go to our Bsal web page. Other diseases include Ranavirus, Severe Perkinsea Infection (SPI), and snake fungal disease.
- It would remove protection from killing or injury from our only native venomous snake - the adder - so it would no longer be a wildlife crime to persecute or kill them, which could be the final blow for an animal already on the brink
- Removal from the following lists of priority species and habitats in England, Scotland, and Wales, from Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 (England), Section 7 of the Environment Act (Wales), Section 2(4) of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 - for more see: https://jncc.gov.uk/our-work/uk-bap/#uk-bap-priority-species-and-habitats
We believe this could lead to local extinctions of some of our widespread species!!
All of our ‘Critically Endangered’ species will be automatically recommended for scheduling without needing to meet the Decision Criteria. European Protected Species (EPS) are automatically proposed for listing on the schedules in England and Wales, and will continue to be protected under the Habitats Regulations in Scotland.
This includes: smooth snake (Coronella austriaca) , sand lizard (Lacerta agilis) , natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) , Northern Clade pool frog (Pelophylax lessonae), and great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) – (Note this species is already subject to the new District Level Licensing programme that can issue a license for ‘killing’ and ‘removal’ of habitat subject to compensatory habitat creation).
What can we do?
As a part of the review stakeholders are given an opportunity to comment or suggest changes. These can be made via an ‘Information Pack’ – where you can access specific surveys for ‘addition’, ‘removal’, or ‘change in status’ of specific species. This must be evidence based – so if for example you wanted to add ‘adder’ you would need to cite published evidence of significant adder declines. Or you can email your country representative directly.
Evidence that a species meets the Decision Criteria should be submitted through the online survey which runs from 8 April to 7 July 2021
The target date for delivery of the QQR 7 is December 2021.
Important dates and the phases of the review are:
- Stakeholders & the country conservation agencies submit proposals using the online survey: 8 Apr – 7 Jul 2021
- Review of new proposals by the QQR Inter-agency Group: Jul - Oct 2021
- Consultation on draft recommendations: Oct – Nov 2021
- Approval sought from the Joint Committee and submission of final recommendations to Governments: Nov - Dec 2021 4
Collaboration with the country nature conservation bodies and other stakeholders during the data gathering phase is strongly encouraged. Please contact the country nature conservation bodies if you would like to invite their specialists into discussions or need more information.
Contact details are:
Reference: IUCN (2012). Guidelines for application of IUCN Red List Criteria at Regional and National Levels: Version 4.0. IUCN SSC. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.