Protected Species Licence Applications

Many animals and some plants are protected by UK and European law. If these species become disturbed, whether deliberately or by accident, the penalties incurred can involve fines and even imprisonment. Working in areas inhabited by protected species can therefore require a European Protected Species (EPS) Licence application sometimes called a mitigation licence. Even if activities like tree felling and archaeological site investigation might not need actual planning permission, they are still activities which can require a Protected Species Licence.

These licences are not designed to give permission to kill or injure protected species, but lay out the detailed steps required to help minimise the risk to protected species. They're issued by either Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage or Natural Resources Wales, all of whom usually aim to issue a decision within 30 working days of receiving your completed application. 

In the hierarchy if mitigation, we aim to avoid the need to impact a protected species, in some cases the impact of development can be minimised or avoided by making changes to the work itself or the way it's scheduled. But if the work is deemed necessary and there is no satisfactory alternative to it taking place, a licence will help you legally navigate your areas of responsibility.

Whatever the nature of your project, we work closely with our clients to ensure the entire process runs smoothly, without delays. 

About protected species licence applications

Protected Species Licence Applications involve completing an application form, creating a method statement, a work schedule and a reasoned statement. The method statement covers detailed steps to be carried out under the licence to minimise risk to the protected species. The reasoned statement details how the work meets the licence criteria and proves there's no satisfactory alternative way to do things. The licence must satisfy what is called the 'three tests':

  • Regulation 53(2)(e) states: a licence can be granted for the purposes of “preserving public health or public safety or other imperative reasons of overriding public interest including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment”.

  • Regulation 53(9)(a) states: the appropriate authority shall not grant a licence unless they are satisfied “that there is no satisfactory alternative”.

  • Regulation 53(9)(b) states: the appropriate authority shall not grant a licence unless they are satisfied “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.”

Your licence will last for the duration of the works through the entire post-development monitoring process. If your project is delayed or the work takes longer than expected, a modification to the licence will be required. 

Licences for surveys

It can be a legal offence to disturb or capture protected species. If you want to survey the species in a way that involves direct contact with the animal or traps, you can apply for a licence. To get one you must have a a good level of knowledge about the species as well as experience in the right survey techniques as well as references from experienced ecologists. The licence lets you disturb or catch the creatures legally, usually with the condition that any animals caught are released in the same place as soon as possible. 

Licences for development

Developers can apply for a licence to allow activities to go ahead legally. The licensing process itself depends on whether the species is covered by European or national legislation, and on the level of protection it has been given.

We have a great deal of experience securing licences for work on sites that are home to all manner of protected species, including:

We also collaborate with a team of specialist associates to provide licensing for other specialist protected species.

Arrange a Protected Species Licence Application

A Protected Species Licence Application can be made at any time of year, although generally these are submitted up to three months prior to the start of construction.

If you'd like to go ahead or have any questions, call us on 07487 700305 or: