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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/reference-to-support-a-protected-species-licence/protected-species-licences-guidance-on-getting-references-to-support-applications
This guide tells you what references you need to apply or register for:
- European protected species (EPS) mitigation licences
- photography, science, conservation or research licences
- survey class licences
1. Skills and experience
You must show you have the correct skills and experience to carry out licenced activities that may affect a protected species. You must show you have:
- knowledge of the ecology and habitat needs of the affected species
- practical experience of survey, capture and handling techniques within the last 3 years
- a working knowledge of third party best practice and relevant wildlife law
1.1 EPS mitigation licence requirements
You must also be able to show you can:
- assess the impact of your activity on-site and in the surrounding local area
- plan effective mitigation and compensation measures
1.2 Eligible evidence of your skills and experience
Evidence of your skills and experience can come from the following examples.
Previous Natural England licences
You can provide evidence that you’ve held a species survey licence within the last 3 years.
If you’re a new applicant without previous licences, you should provide written evidence that you have the required skills and experience. You should also read the section ‘When you need a reference’.
You can provide a completion certificate for a relevant course taken in the last 3 years from these organisations:
- Chartered Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Managers
- Field Studies Council
- People’s Trust for Endangered Species
You can also provide a completion certificate for a relevant course taken in the last 3 years from species- or taxon-specific organisations. Examples include, but are not limited to, the:
- Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust
- Barn Owl Trust
- Bat Conservation Trust
- Mammal Society
You can use licences issued by another authority as part of your experience, such as:
- Natural Resources Wales (formerly Countryside Council for Wales)
- Scottish Natural Heritage
2. When you need a reference
You need 2 written references to verify your skills and experience if you:
- have not held a licence for the species, or similar species, in the last 3 years
- are an ecologist who has not held a licence similar to the one you’re applying for
- hold a licence and want to add new activities
You need 1 written reference if you hold a licence from another authority.
2.1 Upgrading a survey class licence
To upgrade a survey class licence, you must already hold the lower level licence. You must also submit one extra written reference which is relevant for the licence activity you’re applying for.
To upgrade from CL17 to CL18, you must submit 2 items from the following:
- one written reference from an independent individual (see the list of who can and cannot be a referee)
- one certificate to show you’ve completed a relevant training course to a satisfactory level
- a log book to show relevant experience with bat species using the methods on the licence
3. Who can be a referee
Your referees should:
- be wildlife professionals (includes approved volunteer trainers of volunteer bat roost visitors, where appropriate)
- have direct knowledge of your work on the species named in your application
- have held a similar licence within the last 3 years
They should not:
- be a partner or relative
- both work at the same company as you
- be a trainer from a course you’ve taken instead of a reference
4. What your reference should include
Your referees need to complete the reference template AR01 and submit it with your application by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your referees should be able to provide their:
- own experience of the relevant species, method and activity applied for
- knowledge of your experience and competency with the relevant species, method and activity applied for in at least 1 active season (for example, April to October for bat survey)
5. Discretion to reject an application
Natural England can reject a licence application if your supporting evidence or application is of a poor standard.
If you or your referees cannot meet the evidence criteria, you should explain this on your application form and give the best evidence possible. Natural England may contact you or your referees to verify your evidence or ask for more information.
Natural England can make exceptions to issuing licences in the following circumstances.
6.1 Where there are few licences for a species
For some species Natural England issues very few licences, which means you may not be able to meet the evidence criteria and required number of references. In these cases Natural England can make exceptions to replace one referee with:
- evidence of your experience, for example you’ve completed relevant species training
- a qualifying referee who is not a licence holder
This most often affects applications for science, conservation and research licences.
6.2 Career break
You may not be able to provide relevant evidence from the last 3 years if you or your referees have had a career break. Natural England may make an exception and accept earlier experience, such as:
- completed training on the relevant or similar species
- licences held for the species within the last 5 years
- evidence of working with the relevant species or similar species within the last 5 years
7. Contact Natural England
For further information on: