Practical techniques: Other species

Practical techniques: Other species

UK and Ireland

Mammals, including deer, rabbits and foxes

All mammals receive some protection under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996 (England, Scotland and Wales), the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 and the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 (Ireland). This includes offences of crushing and asphyxiation of any wild mammal with intent to inflict unnecessary suffering. All three Acts may apply in the respective nations in which they are implemented during site clearance, particularly where burrowing animals such as foxes and rabbits are present. Careful excavation of burrows and/or exclusion of these animals from their burrows prior to site clearance should be sufficient to avoid offences, such as asphyxiation, under this legislation.

Deer are also protected under various regulations but these regulate the hunting of deer and have no implications for developers. For highway schemes where traffic will be moving at speed, deer fencing is sometimes used to exclude these species from the roadway and direct the deer towards safe crossing points, such as a bridge.

The Animal Welfare Acts for the UK and Ireland make it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering or to fail to meet the needs of vertebrates in temporary control of man. This legislation may apply in translocation projects, should, for example, animals be released in unsuitable or ill-prepared habitat, or at an inappropriate time of year. Well planned translocation programmes that take account of animal welfare should avoid offences under this legislation. This means that receptor sites should be prepared well in advance and translocation works should be timed to suit species’ life cycles.


All mammals receive some protection under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996.

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