European protected species: apply for a mitigation licence
Get a licence to carry out work that may affect European protected species.
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You need a mitigation licence if your work will have impacts on European protected species that would otherwise be illegal, such as:
- capturing, killing, disturbing or injuring them (on purpose or by not taking enough care)
- damaging or destroying their breeding or resting places (even accidentally)
- obstructing access to their resting or sheltering places (on purpose or by not taking enough care)
The licence application form on this page should be used in connection with the following European protected species of animal:
- Fisher’s estuarine moth
- large blue butterfly
- lesser whirlpool ramshorn snail
- green turtle
- hawksbill turtle
- Kemp’s ridley turtle
- leatherback turtle
- loggerhead turtle
- pool frog
- dolphin, porpoise and whale (all species)
It should also be used for the following European protected species of plant:
- creeping marshwort
- early gentian
- fen orchid
- floating water-plantain
- Killarney fern
- lady’s slipper orchid
- shore dock
- slender naiad
- marsh saxifrage
It should not be used for the European protected species below, each of which has its own mitigation licence application form (follow the links to obtain these forms):
What you need to send
When applying for a mitigation licence, you need to complete the application form available on this page.
You also need to supply:
- a method statement to show what you’ll do to reduce the impacts of the proposed work on the affected species
- a reasoned statement to show that the activity fits the criteria and that there is no satisfactory alternative
- references to show that the ecological consultant has the necessary experience to apply for a mitigation licence (references won’t be needed if they’ve held a mitigation licence for the same species in the last 3 years)
If the application is for a phased or multi-plot development, you should supply:
- a master plan
- a habitat management and maintenance plan
Licences are free. Allow up to 30 working days for a licensing decision to be made.
The 3 licensing tests
Your licence application must pass 3 legal tests:
- the activity must be for a certain purpose (for example, for scientific research or in the public interest)
- there must be no satisfactory alternative that will cause less harm to the species
- the activity must not harm the long-term conservation status of the species (you may need to create new habitats to offset any damage)
Find out more about the requirements for a European protected species licence.
How to report your actions
You are required to report any actions you took under this licence to Natural England using the European protected species return form.
You need to complete the report no later than 2 weeks after your licence expires, even if you’ve taken no action. There may be times when you’ll be asked to submit interim reports as well.
If you need planning permission you should get it before applying for a mitigation licence.
Published: 6 October 2014
Updated: 5 August 2015
- Replaced application form with a revised, interactive PDF version.
- Updated version of application form added.
- First published.