Code of conduct for fieldwork

General safety

  1. Each individual participant must bear in mind that the onus for carrying out safety procedures in the field rests primarily with him- or herself.
  2. All participants must obey safety instructions from the leader and must adhere to suitable standards of behaviour in order to reduce the risk of accidents.
  3. Participants must ensure that they are suitably clad for the local terrain and for all weather conditions likely to be encountered. Clothing requirements should be assessed at the planning stage. Leaders should refuse to allow any person in the group who has inappropriate or inadequate personal clothing to embark on a field exercise.
  4. Participants must inform the leader in advance that they are attending, and must ensure that the meeting is suitable for or adaptable to their fitness level. They should check that the meeting is suitable for children, if any are coming.
  5. Participants must inform the leader of their arrival and of their departure from the meeting.
  6. Participants should inform another participant or the leader of any strategic absences during the meeting.
  7. Participants are responsible for their own prescribed medicines and special first aid requirements for allergies e.g. epipens, hypoallergenic plasters etc.
  8. All members of the group must be made aware of who is carrying first aid equipment and whether any members of the group are in possession of mobile telephones which are within signal range, which may be used in emergency. If no telephones are available, then the location of the nearest emergency assistance should be established. Participants should check that their mobile phones (if brought) are charged and financed and that they are able to obtain a signal at the sites visited.
  9. Any individual noticing a health or safety problem they are not able to put right themselves should immediately inform the leader.
  10. Participants should look out for the safety of adjacent participants.
  11. Participants should supply the leader with a list of their species records, either at the meeting or shortly afterwards.


Habitats must be protected and respected and undue disturbance to wildlife should be avoided.  Plants and animals may inadvertently be displaced or destroyed by careless actions.  In particular:

  1. Logs and stones (e.g. on rocky shores) should be returned to their original position.
  2. Vegetation should be disturbed as little as possible.
  3. At geological sites, exposures should not be left in an untidy, dangerous or (unless in imminent danger of destruction) ‘worked out’ condition.  The Geological Code should be observed.


  1. Members should abide by species and habitat protection laws at all times.
  2. No more specimens should be killed than are strictly required for scientific study.  Much work can be done with dead shells.
  3. During recording, readily identifiable specimens should ideally be examined while alive and then released where they were captured.
  4. Photography should be considered as an alternative to collecting, (particularly for larger marine species).
  5. Specimens for exchange or disposal to other scientists should be taken sparingly if at all.
  6. For commercial purposes Mollusca should be obtained from old collections.  Live shells should never be collected for use in ‘jewellery’ or ornaments.
  7. Collectors should attempt to break new ground rather than collect a local or rare species from a well known or overworked locality.
  8. Fossil collecting should be kept to a minimum and the removal of in situ fossils should be avoided unless they are genuinely needed for serious study.
  9. Publicity should be minimised with regard to previously unknown localities for rare or endangered species, although local and national recorders should be kept informed.

Releases and Introduction

Any releases and introductions should be restricted to bona fide scientific purposes and only be considered following consultation with and under the supervision of Natural England. (Note: Only native stock of indigenous species may be released into the wild.  Any other releases contravene the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act).

Consideration for Others

  1. The rights of landowners and other users of the Countryside should always be respected.  The Country Code should be observed.
  2. Members should behave abroad as they would at home.