Protected Species & Licensing

Protected Species


Several animals often found on development sites are included on the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and/or the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. These include great crested newts, bats, reptiles (such as slow-worm), dormice, white-clawed crayfish, etc. We have held Natural England survey and mitigation licenses for all these species plus other species not typically associated with development sites (sand lizard, smooth snake, southern damselfly and pennyroyal).

Badgers are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and a Natural England licence must be obtained for any work that will disturb badgers using a sett or damage/ destroy the sett.

Licences will only be granted to ecologists who have proven competence with the species concerned. You can therefore rest assured that we are completely licensed and qualified for all work we undertake, rather than employing consultancies who simply lack the necessary expertise or rely on unpredictable subcontractors.

Local authorities (and many developers) are already acutely aware of a Natural England policy and advice statement based on a Judicial Review Judgment in the case of Woolley v. Cheshire East Borough Council in 2009. In 2011, this was reinforced by the Morge v. Hampshire County Council case in the High Court. This puts a strict onus on local planning authorities to ensure that any planning application involving protected species satisfies the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive. Consequently, local authorities must give regard to the three derogation tests, namely that:

  • the activity to be licensed must be for imperative reasons of overriding public interest;
  • there must be no satisfactory alternative; and
  • favourable conservation status of the species must be maintained.

We offer our clients clear and professional advice how to satisfy these three tests and offer guidance through the intricacies of changing wildlife legislation. We work to ensure projects are always fully compliant with the law without putting additional financial burdens on cash-conscious clients.

Licence applications

Obtaining successful planning permission is often only the first step where protected species are involved. Developments affecting European Protected Species (EPS), such as bats and great crested newts, usually require an EPS Licence (EPSL) from Natural England. Equally, work impacting badgers will also require a Natural England licence. We will apply for the relevant licence on your behalf when there is need and can liaise with all parties as necessary allowing you to get on with the rest of your project.

Frequently Asked Questions

An excellent summary of protected species FAQ’s can be found on Natural England’s website by clicking here. Some common myths regarding protected species licensing can also be found here.

Contact us with your own queries relating to protected species and we’ll only be too happy to help! 

Scroll to Top