Pre-submission screening service: advice on planning proposals affecting protected species

Get advice from Natural England on planning proposals that will require a protected species mitigation licence and what charges apply.

Applies to England


Natural England offers a pre-submission screening service so you can get advice on planning and development proposals which might affect European or nationally protected species before planning permission is secured.

The service offers you the chance to get advice on:

  • whether the proposals are likely to meet licensing requirements
  • what changes could be made to the proposals to meet licensing requirements

The service should help you better understand the risks and costs associated with your planning proposals by:

  • not having to wait until the formal submission stage to understand licensing requirements (once planning permission is secured)
  • having an opportunity to gain further information following an initial formal licence application

About the service

The pre-submission screening service offers:

  • a review of draft application documents by Natural England licensing advisers
  • a written advice note highlighting issues which need to be addressed giving views on the relevant licensing tests
  • the opportunity for a site visit with a written report of the advice given
  • a follow up telephone support to clarify highlighted issues prior to formal submission

The service is available for new licence applications, resubmissions or modifications.

How to use the service

Complete the pre-submission screening service: request form (PDF, 250 KB, 4 pages) to provide details of your proposal, explain why you think a licence is required and what advice you need.

Submit the form or send any questions you have about the service to:

Natural England will assess your request and confirm whether the pre-submission screening service is appropriate for you. You may be contacted by a Natural England adviser if more information is needed.

If your case is accepted, you will be asked to provide a draft licence application with as much information as you have at the time. This should include a draft:

  • application form
  • method statement
  • reasoned statement

Where possible, a master plan (if appropriate), survey information, maps, figures and photographs should be made available.

Natural England aims to respond with advice to accepted cases within 30 working days.

If you decide to use this service, you agree to these terms and conditions (PDF, 140 KB, 16 pages).

Cost of the service

Natural England charges £110 per hour for its service.

Costs depend on the complexity of the case and are based on the estimated or actual time taken to complete the work, depending on which contract option you’ve chosen.

Natural England will provide you with a quotation to include:

  • fixed minimum prices - for meetings and site visits
  • estimated prices - based upon number of hours to complete the work
  • hourly charge (to include work and travel) - for more complex requests and undefined scope contracts

Meeting and travel costs

You’ll pay:

  • £500 per adviser for a 90 minute meeting at:
    • a Natural England office or via conference call
    • your office or development site
  • £110 per hour per adviser for each additional hour

Meeting costs include:

  • 1 hour preparation time
  • consultation with colleagues
  • written summary of advice

If an adviser needs to travel to your office or development site you’ll pay:

  • adviser’s travel costs at 45p per mile
  • public transport, tolls and expenses over and above the mileage at cost
  • adviser’s travel time as part of the hourly rate

Wildlife licence charges

Natural England may charge for processing a wildlife licensing application, depending on the purpose of your project. Find out when you may need to pay.

Published 3 November 2014
Last updated 3 May 2019 + show all updates
  1. Added section on 'wildlife licence charges' to bottom of page.

  2. Request form replaced with updated version.

  3. Natural England service charge changes.

  4. First published.