Guidance

Enforcement laws: advice on protecting the natural environment in England

Get advice from Natural England to help you comply with laws that protect wildlife and the natural environment.

Natural England is responsible for enforcing laws that protect wildlife and the natural environment. Natural England aims to use enforcement:

  • as a last resort but it is sometimes necessary to make sure that the natural environment is protected
  • in a consistent and proportionate manner to target illegal activities that have the greatest impact on wildlife, geology and landscapes

Natural England’s compliance and enforcement position

The compliance and enforcement position (PDF, 95.1KB, 4 pages) explains how Natural England helps people comply with the laws it’s responsible for enforcing. It also outlines the general principles followed when Natural England need to take enforcement action.

Further details of the processes involved in taking enforcement action:

Natural England’s enforcement responsibilities

Natural England is responsible for:

Report a suspected offence

Animal poisoning or other abuse of pesticides

Report a suspected animal poisoning or other abuse of pesticides by calling the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme on 0800 321 600.

Breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) Regulations

Report a suspected breach of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (Agriculture) Regulations by calling the EIA helpline on 0800 028 2140 or email eiaengland@naturalengland.org.uk.

Breach of a species licence issued by Natural England

Breaches of general licences issued by Natural England are enforced by the police. Report these and any other offences against protected species to your local police service via 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If the incident is on-going, report it to the police on 999. In all cases, you should ask if the case can be referred to a police wildlife crime officer (PWCO) for investigation. You can ask for a police incident number to follow up on your report.

Report a suspected breach of a species licence issued by Natural England by email to speciesenforcement@naturalengland.org.uk. Put the name of the county that the incident occurred in at the start of the subject line to help Natural England deal with your report.

Other incidents

Report any other incidents to the Natural England enquiries team by calling 0300 060 3900 or email enquiries@naturalengland.org.uk.

Enforcement undertakings

The primary purpose of an enforcement undertaking is to allow the offender to restore and remedy any environmental damage they have caused. Use the offer form (MS Word Document, 41.6KB) to notify Natural England if you are:

  • being proactive and self-reporting a suspected offence
  • reacting to an offence where Natural England has notified you it intends taking criminal or civil action against you

Return your offer to:

Enquiries

Natural England
County Hall, Spetchley Road
Worcester
WR5 2NP

Opening times: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

Find out about call charges at www.gov.uk/call-charges.

Monitoring enforcement

Natural England annual reports of enforcement activity:

See the prosecutions and civil sanctions (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 90.1KB) brought by Natural England.

Published 20 October 2013
Last updated 7 January 2019 + show all updates
  1. Annual reports on Natural England enforcement activity for 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 published.
  2. Annual report of Natural England enforcement activity 2015 to 2016 published.
  3. Annual report 2014 to 2015 published.
  4. Added updated version of the public register of civil sanctions and prosecutions.
  5. Updated version of register of civil sanctions and prosecutions
  6. Added updated version of register of civil sanctions and prosecutions
  7. First published.