Introduction to Nature Conservation Legislation in the UK (England)


The policy and legislative environment in England is constantly changing, keep up to date with this training course.

The Environment Act in 2021 is the most significant policy change in 25 years. It provided a framework, and to put the Act into practice we are now seeing many new guidance documents, changes to regulations and further consultations. This course helps participants navigate a period of rapid change, providing a clear review of current law and policy and signposts to the future direction. It enables participants to reflect on how these large scale shifts in national policy translate to change on the ground. Conservation policy has multiple ambitions to halt species decline, deliver benefits for people, and compliment policy action on climate change. The course will review and debate how effective the current and proposed framework is in achieving multiple aims. Whilst taking a UK perspective, this particular course focusses specifically on England.
By the end of the course, participants will have developed a strong practical understanding of the system of nature conservation governance in England. They will be familiar with the key environmental designations at a local, national and international scale. They will understand the overlapping roles of the key statutory agencies, including the new Office for Environmental Protection. Participants will also engage with the current and changing regulations for protected species, including the new District Level Licences.

Participants will work through a live case study which will help bring the ‘dry’ legal and policy context to life. The case study has been selected because it covers many of the issues practicing ecologist with encounter in their work. It includes impacts on: terrestrial and marine SSSIs; protected species; national parks; and sites of local importance for nature conservation. Between the two online sessions, participants are provided with activities, including video clips and sections of an ecological appraisal. To get the most from the course, participants are advised to do about two hours guided work on the case study between sessions one and two.

The course provides six hours of learning, designed around two interactive online sessions that draws on the knowledge held within each cohort. Using polling, chat, online whiteboards and breakout groups, we facilitate sessions that are highly interactive.There will be plenty of opportunities for debate and for participants to share experiences and ask questions related to their work. Supporting materials are provided beforehand, including a glossary of technical terms prepared specifically for this course.


About the trainers
This training session will be delivered by Dr Alina Congreve and Professor Anthony Gallagher.

Alina is an experienced sustainability and climate change professional with 18 years experience working in higher education, public policy and innovation. Her main areas of expertise are:
-Spatial planning
-City scale mitigation and adaptation to climate change
-Ecosystem services and natural capital
-Design and delivery of professional and higher education programmes
She is the project manager of a large Wellcome Trust grant about health and wellbeing in the built environment. Other recent clients include: green infrastructure roadmapping for Swansea University; advanced professional skills for Rothamsted ecologists; and policy briefings for LGiU members. She has a masters degree from UCL in Conservation and a PhD from King’s College London. She holds professional membership of the RTPI.

Anthony has a strong background in environmental ideation, research and planning. This includes policy and programme development and evaluation, as well as strategic and behavioural change. He has worked as both an academic and a practitioner, leading numerous complex multi-partner projects on behalf of a range of clients including Natural England, NatureScot, Cefas, the JNCC and DEFRA. Anthony also has extensive experience of international development, stakeholder engagement and partnership working, recently working for the World Bank. Anthony chairs the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership (CMMP), which is delegated to deliver a statutory Regional Marine Plan for the Clyde region (out to 12nm). He is the founder of Evolved Research and Consulting Ltd and a Visiting Professor at the University of Southampton.


Session Date of session Session Times
Session 1 07 December 2023 10:00am - 13:00
Session 2 14 December 2023 10:00am - 13:00

Who Should Attend?

This course is aimed at early career ecologists and environmental managers working in local government; private consultancy; national regulators; NGOs; and large utility companies.

Knowledge Level


Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge is necessary.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of the international context for UK nature conservation legislation and our roles and responsibilities post-Brexit.
  • Understanding national legislation for the protection of wildlife including individual species and habitats.
  • Understanding the legal context for designated sites, including the hierarchy of protections.
  • Understanding of how offences commonly occur, the implications of offences and enforcement responsibilities.
  • Understanding of how offences are commonly avoided by derogations (e.g. protected species licensing).


Tickets Person(s) Price (£)
CIEEM Member Ticket 1 £170.00
Non Member Ticket 1 £220.00