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European protected species of plants

It is against the law to pick, collect, cut, uproot or destroy a European Protected Species (EPS) plant wherever it grows

Some species of plants have declined throughout Europe to such an extent that they are now offered special protection in law. The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, (known as ‘the Habitats Regulations’) transposed into UK law the EC Habitats Directive of 1992, which listed these EPS.

This page cannot cover all aspects of the law, but is an introduction to show how you can help to protect rare species.

Plant species

The following plants occurring in Wales are European Protected Species (EPS), and are listed on Schedule 5 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010:

  • Fen Orchid,Liparis loeselii
  • Floating Water-plantain, Luronium natans
  • Killarney Fern, Trichomanes speciosum
  • Shore Dock, Rumex rupestris

Under the Habitats Regulations, it is an offence if you deliberately pick, collect, cut, uproot or destroy a wild plant of a European protected species.

There are other offences relating to possession, transport and sale. See ‘Possession and Sale of Protected Species’ for further information.

NRW issues licences under Regulation 55 of the Habitats Regulations to allow activities involving EPS to proceed, which would otherwise be offences. Further information is given about this in ‘European Protected Species of Plant Licensing’.

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