Dormice & the Law

In the UK, the hazel dormouse Muscardinus avellanarius is legally protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and have significant further protection as a European Protected Species under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended).

This combined legislation makes it an offence to:

  • Intentionally kill, injure or take a dormouse;
  • Possess or control any live or dead specimen or anything derived from a dormouse (unless it can be shown to have been legally acquired);
  • Intentionally or recklessly damage, destroy or obstruct access to any structure or place used for shelter or protection by a dormouse; and
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb a dormouse while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose.

Dormice are a ‘Species of Principal Importance for the conservation of biodiversity’ listed under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC).  They are also a ‘Priority Species’ in Nottinghamshire, and subject to a local Species Action Plan (SAP).