Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (c 16), also referred to as the NERC Act (2006), is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006[1]
Long titleAn Act to make provision about bodies concerned with the natural environment and rural communities; to make provision in connection with wildlife, sites of special scientific interest, National Parks and the Broads; to amend the law relating to rights of way; to make provision as to the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council; to provide for flexible administrative arrangements in connection with functions relating to the environment and rural affairs and certain other functions; and for connected purposes.
Citation2006 c 16
Royal assent30 March 2006
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

Chapter 1Edit

Chapter 1 (sections 1-16) deals with the establishment and role of Natural England.[2]

Sections 40 to 42 – Duty to conserve biodiversityEdit

Section 40 of the NERC Act places a duty to conserve biodiversity on public authorities in England. It requires local authorities and government departments to have regard to the purposes of conserving biodiversity in a manner that is consistent with the exercise of their normal functions such as policy and decision-making. 'Conserving biodiversity' may include enhancing, restoring or protecting a population or a habitat.[3]

Section 41 requires the Secretary of State to publish and maintain lists of species and types of habitats which are regarded by Natural England to be of "principal importance" for the purposes of conserving biodiversity in England. These 56 priority habitats and 943 species are drawn from earlier lists of United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan Priority Species and Habitats. The Section 41 lists are needed by decision-makers in local and regional authorities when carrying out their duties under Section 40 of the Act.[4]

Section 42 similarly required the National Assembly for Wales to publish equivalent lists of priority species and habitats for that country. However, this requirement (and one specified in Section 40 for Wales) has been superseded by virtue of similar requirements being enshrined in the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.[5]

Section 107 – CommencementEdit

The following orders have been made under this section:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 109 of this Act.
  2. ^ "Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006". Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Biodiversity duty: public authority duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity". UK Government. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Primary Legislation: England". Biodiversity Planning Toolkit. Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE). Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006: 42 Biodiversity lists and action (Wales)". UK Government. Retrieved 8 February 2017.

External linksEdit