Scottish Government has published a policy guidance document that explains the changes made to the Habitats Regulations to ensure that the law remains operable and effective from 1 January 2021.
As a consequence of EU exit, it has been necessary to make a number of changes to the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994, the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017, and the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Conservation of Habitats) Regulations 2001 (collectively known as “the Habitats Regulations”). The changes took legal effect on exit day and ensure that Scotland continues to maintain the standards required by the EU Habitats and Wild Birds Directives (commonly referred to collectively as “the EU Nature Directives”). The Nature Directives set out rules for the protection and management of certain habitats and species and all wild bird species to ensure their conservation in the long term. The Habitats Regulations remain in force, including the general provisions for the protection of European sites and the procedural requirements to undertake Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) to assess the implications of plans or projects for European sites. The changes made were only those necessary to ensure that they remain operable now that the UK has left the EU. The guidance (see link below) sets out what these changes mean in practice, including how existing guidance relating to implementation of the Nature Directives should be interpreted.