The County Council has a number of obligations to conserve and enhance biodiversity, embodied in various legislative instruments.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 places a duty on the Council to protect and enhance Sites of Special Scientific Interest whilst the The Habitats Regulations 1994 imposes particular obligations to prevent damage to internationally designated sites (Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation).
The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 establishes a new duty that all public bodies have due regard to the conservation of biodiversity as far as is consistent with the proper exercise of their functions.
National Planning Guidance on Nature Conservation is embodied in Planning Policy Statement 9: Biodiversity and Geological Conservation, and its accompanying document "Planning for Biodiversity and Geological Conservation : A Guide to Good Practice".
There are also obligations for the County Council to consider legislation for protected species when undertaking all their activities, for example the Wildlife & Countryside Act ( as amended) 1981, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
The Ecology Group serves to interpret the requirements of relevant legislation for the County Council to ensure it fulfils its obligations. Additionally, the County Council has the opportunity to comment on draft legislation and the Ecology Group contributes to this consultation process.