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UK Protected Plant Licensing

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 gives legal protection to all wild plants. Plants and fungi on Schedule 8 have more protection. Offences include sale, picking, uprooting and destroying. We grant licences for specific purposes

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) makes it illegal to uproot any wild plant, unless you have the permission of the landowner. In addition, more than 100 flowering plants and over 75 lower plants are listed on Schedule 8. These species are either rare or vulnerable to exploitation.

This page cannot cover all aspects of the law or plant ecology, but is an introduction to show how you can help to protect Welsh plants.

For these specially protected plants, it is an offence to:

  • Intentionally pick, uproot or destroy
  • Sell, offer or expose for sale

For a full list of Schedule 8 plants, refer to the link on this page.

A small number of plants are European Protected Species. For information on these, see ‘European Protected Species of Plants’ and ‘European Protected Species of Plant Licensing’.

Licensing

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) issues licences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act for specific purposes, so you can undertake certain activities without breaking the law. We can grant licences for the following purposes:

  • Scientific and educational
  • Ringing or marking
  • Conserving wild animals or wild plants, or introducing them to particular areas
  • Protecting any zoological or botanical collection
  • Photography
  • Public health or public safety
  • Preventing the spread of disease
  • Preventing serious damage to crops, property, fisheries etc

Please see the attached application form, ‘Plants – application form’. If you wish to sell a UK protected species, see ‘Possession and Sale of Protected Species’.

We cannot issue licences for the purposes of development under this legislation. If you are proposing to undertake a development that could affect plants, you should make sure that you stay within the law.

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