A Natural England licence is required to carry out work which will affect certain species. Licences make certain actions lawful that would otherwise be illegal. They cover species protected under:
- Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (protected species);
- The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (European protected species);
- Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (badgers only).
Natural England has powers to grant licences in England for the purposes below:
- preserving public health or public safety or other imperative reasons of overriding public interest;
- preventing the spread of disease;
- preventing serious damage to livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, crops, vegetables fruit, growing timber or any other form of property or to fisheries;
- science or education, conservation, ringing or marking;
- possession of species or derivatives.
In order to obtain a licence, it has to be clearly demonstrated that the damage will be adequately mitigated against and/or compensated for, hence the mitigation strategy.
For European protected species licences, the Habitats Regulations require three tests to be satisfied before a licence can be issued.
Natural England will only issue a licence if it is satisfied that the activity meets one of the aforementioned purposes, if it is satisfied that there is no satisfactory alternative, and that the action authorised will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.
Undertaking work without a valid licence, or other offences against protected species, could result in a fine of up to £5,000 or six months in prison per offence (for example, per bat).
Licence applications take at least 30 working days to process.
For more information on licencing visit the Natural England website.
Last updated 04/10/2012
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Environmental Projects Team
Telford & Wrekin Council Development Plans & Sustainability
Address: Darby House
Tel: 01952 384384