13 Mar Natural England’s New Charging Policy for Protected Species Licences – What does it mean for your project?
Natural England has established a Wildlife Licensing Service to deal with protected species licence submissions, returns and renewals. This new service will also lead on plans to charge for mitigation licences, a process that will be subject to a phased role out that will commence in April 2019.
Roll out of Charges for Licensing
Our understanding is that charges for dormouse mitigation licences will be implemented from 1 April and bat licences from 22 April. The implementation of charges for badger licence applications (including site registrations under a Class licence) is currently scheduled for May 2019. Charges for great crested newt mitigation licences and for other species will follow later in the year.
Costs of Licensing
Whilst the charges for issuing licences will be fixed for ‘simpler’ applications, the input of the Licensing Service in issuing ‘more complex’ mitigation licences will be charged on an hourly basis. The criteria for determining whether a licence is simple or complex will be based on the time taken to process it; it follows that those consultants who regularly secure licences will rapidly be able to advise which category most applications are likely to fall into (and approximate associated costs).
Examples of proposed licensing costs are as follows:
- Hazel dormouse. Non-complex applications – £690. Complex applications – £101 per hour of assessment time plus a compliance charge (relating to checks for compliance with the licence) of £183.
- Bats. Non-complex applications – £500. Complex applications – £101 per hour of assessment time plus a compliance charge of £183.
- Badger. Non-complex applications – £260. Complex applications – £101 per hour of assessment plus a £61 compliance charge.
- Class Licences (currently bats and badger). Site registration – £130 – £160.
A range of projects are exempt from these charges including those required for public health and safety, single dwelling houses, and those with conservation aims including:
a) Licences for projects whose principle aim is to maintain or improve the conservation status of a threatened species or habitat.
b) Licences for projects whose principle aim is to maintain or improve the conservation of historic properties.
c) Licences for projects that deliver favourable conservation for bats through in-situ mitigation.
What does this mean for your project?
Licence applications will need to be accurate, concise and well thought out to avoid the need for extended assessment by Natural England. There is a cost benefit to delivering conservation for bats in-situ.
At BSG Ecology our ecologists have held simple and complex mitigation licences for protected species and we have in-house Low Impact Class Licence holders for bats and badger (as well as great crested newt and water vole). For advice on protected species licencing relating to projects please call one of our offices or email email@example.com