With the commencement of the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (WANE) all Species Licensing responsibilities were transferred to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Marine Scotland as of 1 July 2011.
Wildlife in Scotland is protected by a range of national and international legislation. These laws are designed to protect rare and vulnerable species as well as their breeding and resting places. If you carry out any act, deliberately or recklessly, which could result in the disturbance of a protected species or the obstruction, damage or destruction of their resting or breeding sites including birds nests, you may be committing a criminal offence.
However, it is also recognised that there are particular circumstances, for example, to protect public health and safety, or to prevent serious damage to agriculture, where it is desirable to licence acts which would otherwise be illegal.
Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage can issue licences under certain circumstances to permit those acts if it is for a specific licensable purpose, there is no suitable alternative and it will not harm the species overall.