Birds in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds v The Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs BAE Systems (Operations) Ltd (1st Interested Party) Natural England (2nd Interested Party)
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 21 May 2014

    On the right bank of the Ribble, to the north and east of that area is the aerodrome and manufacturing and research facility operated by BAE Systems (Operations) Limited ("British Aerospace") at Warton. British Aerospace and its predecessors have occupied the site since 1947. It is their principal UK facility for developing, manufacturing and testing military aircraft. A significant proportion of the Lesser Black-backed and Herring Gulls weigh more than 1kg.

  • Fisher and Others v English Nature
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 04 Jul 2003

    Stone-curlews are a migratory species nesting from March onwards in any year and migrating to southern Spain or North Africa from October. The birds nest from March each year in cultivated land which has plenty of bare ground and fairly short vegetation, as they prefer an open relatively unobstructed vista (so as to be aware of predators) and stony ground so that their eggs are camouflaged.

    As I have already said, it is to the existence of the legal consequences of the notification and confirmation that the Claimants take objection as unfair and unnecessary interferences with their rights of ownership and which (they contend) are avoidable by classification as a SPA instead of confirmation as a SSSI as the statutory vehicle for bird protection or by recourse to non-statutory means, namely agreements with the landowners.

    This application is not the occasion for any detailed examination of or exegesis on the relevant legislation (and in particular European legislation) relating to SPAs. In this context it is important to bear in mind that there is as yet no SPA and (in particular in the absence of an SSSI) there may never be, and the performance of the duty of English Nature under Section 28 cannot lawfully be deferred to await the exercise of jurisdiction by the Secretary of State to classify an SPA.

    I see no reason to disagree with the Government's views as to the relationship between SPAs and SSSIs in terms of the transposition of the Birds Directive but whether or not those views are correct is immaterial.

    It is well established that a reasonable relationship of proportionality under Article 1 does not import a test of strict necessity (as Mr Holgate has argued). The fact that there may be other even better methods of achieving the same ends does not necessarily mean that any particular measure is disproportionate under Article 1: see James v the UK [1986] 8 EHRR 123; Tre Traktorer Aktiebolag v Sweden [1991] 13 EHRR 309.

  • R (Haynes) v Stafford Borough Council
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 14 Jun 2006

    The first proposition is that the High Court has jurisdiction to make a declaration as to whether a criminal offence has been committed or may be committed in the future, but it is only to be exercised in exceptional circumstances. As explained by Simon Brown LJ in R v DPP ex p Camelot Group plc (1997) 10 Admin L Rep 93 at 104, the decision falls to be taken not as one of high principle but rather in the light of a number of considerations.

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