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

A small number of plants are European Protected Species.


Natural Resources Wales 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

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.

When you can apply for a licence

Find out who can apply for a protected species licence

Apply for a protected species licence

If you cannot avoid disturbing protected species, or damaging their breeding sites and resting places, you can apply for a licence for a range of different activities:

Contact us

You can contact us for help at any time before or during your licence application.

Last updated