Dolphin, marine turtles, otters and other European protected species are to benefit from increased protection from this summer.
Stronger laws will be created for the protection of European protected species and their habitats. Defra is reminding people that they will be brought into force on August 21.
These new regulations implement EC legislation (the Habitats Directive), by making changes to the Habitats Regulations, and by introducing the new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations.
The removal of defences from the Habitats Regulations will mean that those carrying out activities that may have the effect of killing, capturing or disturbing, or damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place of these species will now have to give greater consideration to whether the risk that their proposed activity may have such effects on these species can be avoided.
It is recommended that operators follow good practice guidance issued by Natural England and the Forestry Commission.
This gives advice on assessing the presence of European protected species, assessing the possible impact of operations and practical strategies for avoiding committing offences.
If an offence cannot be avoided the operator may seek a licence.
The new Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations will extend protection to marine species, wild birds and habitats out to 200 nautical miles. A number of Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas in the offshore area will be identified and protected. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee will consult on the first seven draft sites later this year.