Who are Natural England?
Natural England is the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. They ensure the protection of wildlife and landscapes for people to enjoy and for the services they provide. Natural England are the primary statutory consultee for the public and/or companies wishing to develop sites that may impact ecological habitats or protected species within England.
Changes to mitigation licences
Natural England has started the first phase of introducing wildlife licensing charges, implementing new costs on particular licences and introducing costs where new licences are concerned.
In a consultation which concluded in May 2018, Natural England decided that survey licences and mitigation licences for development will now carry a cost.
What does this mean?
The first round of charges, involving licences for dormouse mitigation (A35), will come into play from April 1st, followed by a number of different bat licences (A13, A34 and CL21 site registration) from 22nd April. Badger licences (A29 and CL35 site registration) are expected to be introduced in May, with great crested newts and other protected species to follow later on in the year.
How this could affect your project?
To avoid any unexpected costs for your future developments, you should be aware of the provisional Natural England charges listed below:
- Charges will be placed on licences for “non-complex” mitigation licences – £700
- Hourly rate for assessment of complex applications – £101 per hour
The new charges being put in place by Natural England aim to lead to higher standards of service, quicker results, and responses relating to licences which will help reduce waiting times and monetary impacts for property developers and investors.
When carrying out a survey on a property or area, it may well be worth exploring whether or not you need a particular wildlife licence as a means of acquiring the planning permission that you seek to get going with your project.
For more information about survey timings and likely Natural England charges, please contact the Ecology team on 0845 676 9303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.