Landscape Planning and Heritage

Biodiversity duty: public authority duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 states that public authorities have a duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity as part of their policy or decision making. Conserving biodiversity can include restoring or enhancing a population or habitat.

A public authority can be a:

  • local authority including a unitary, county, district, community, parish or town council
  • government department or one of their executive agencies
  • non-departmental government body
  • NHS Trust
  • utility company
  • body carrying out functions of a public character under a statutory power

DEFRA guidance for public authorities on implementing the duty