Consultation outcome

Wildlife licensing: comment on new policies for European protected species licences

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Outcome report

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Detail of outcome

Read the outcome report for full details of the proposed new policies for European protected species licensing. The report shows where proposals were changed as a response to public feedback.

Policy summaries

Policy 1 - Greater flexibility when excluding and relocating European Protected Species (EPS) from development sites

Defra considers that compensation for EPS impacts can be delivered without the need to relocate or exclude populations, where: exclusion or relocation measures are not necessary to maintain the conservation status of the local population; the avoid-mitigate-compensate hierarchy is followed; and compensation provides greater benefits to the local population than would exclusion and/or relocation.

Policy 2 - Greater flexibility in the location of newly created habitats that compensate for habitats that will be lost

If the licensing tests are met and the avoid-mitigate-compensate hierarchy is followed, off-site compensation measures may be preferred to on-site compensation measures, where there are good reasons for maximising development on the site of EPS impacts, and where an off-site solution provides greater benefit to the local population than an on-site solution.

Policy 3 - Allowing EPS to have access to temporary habitats that will be developed at a later date

Where development (such as mineral extraction) will temporarily create habitat which is likely to attract EPS, Defra favours proposals which enable works to proceed without the exclusion of EPS, where the conservation status of the local population would not be detrimentally affected. On completion of development such sites must contribute to the conservation status of the local population as much as or more than the land use which preceded development. The measures to achieve this should be set out in a management plan and secured by a legal agreement.

Policy 4 - Appropriate and relevant surveys where the impacts of development can be confidently predicted

Natural England will be expected to ensure that licensing decisions are properly supported by survey information, taking into account industry standards and guidelines. It may, however, accept a lower than standard survey effort where: the costs or delays associated with carrying out standard survey requirements would be disproportionate to the additional certainty that it would bring; the ecological impacts of development can be predicted with sufficient certainty; and mitigation or compensation will ensure that the licensed activity does not detrimentally affect the conservation status of the local population of any EPS.

Original consultation

Summary

Natural England is seeking views on whether 4 new policies could be permitted under licence to benefit European protected species whilst improving flexibility for development.

This consultation ran from
to

Consultation description

Natural England invites interested parties to comment on 4 new policies for the way European protected species (EPS) licensing is handled to reduce the risk of harm against them from development in the future.

Natural England is seeking views from:

  • local government
  • planners and developers
  • ecologists
  • wildlife charities
  • energy companies
  • other interested parties

The policies

  1. To allow greater flexibility on decisions to exclude or relocate EPS from development sites.
  2. To allow greater flexibility on the location of newly created habitats that compensate for habitats that will be lost.
  3. To allow EPS to have access to temporary habitats that will be developed at a later date.
  4. To allow appropriate and relevant surveys to be carried out where the impacts of development can be confidently predicted.

Read the consultation documents on this page for full details.

Background

European protected species are protected by the Habitats Directive so that it’s an offence to capture, kill, injure or disturb them or their habitat without a licence from Natural England.

The 4 new policies could:

  • have a net benefit for EPS by:
    • improving populations overall and not just protecting individual species within development sites
  • reduce cost and delay to developers in the way they:
    • carry out surveys
    • exclude wildlife from development sites
    • trap or move wildlife

For enquiries about this consultation email: wildlife.consultation@naturalengland.org.uk

Use the ‘respond online’ link below to give your views.

Documents

Consultation document

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Annex 1: Business engagement assessment - possible impact of the policies on businesses

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Annex 2: list of invited consultees

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Published 25 February 2016
Last updated 12 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Added summary descriptions of each proposed policy.
  2. Outcome report published.
  3. First published.