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Wildlife and the law

I had an interesting day out of the rain at a Biocensus course on wildlife and the law today, tutored by Lyn Jenkins of Kestrel Wildlife Consultants. Lots of bats, badgers, and, of course, Great Crested Newts. For this lay person it was pleasing to find out how much European and U.K. legislation there is to protect animals and their habitats, although I was initially baffled by the inevitable complexity of it and puzzled by the apparent lack of emphasis on invertebrates (I suppose this is a practical issue - it would be difficult to survey for them). I was also pleasantly surprised to discover that since 2006 public bodies are obliged to "have regard to biodiversity conservation". Gosh. I wonder how diligently the DEFRA guidance on that is being applied in these cash strapped times, and how dilatory local authorities might be persuaded to take their "biodiversity duty" more seriously. I suppose that's the problem with this kind of legislation generally; how do you enforce it?