New Natural England wildlife licensing charges – what does it mean for you?
Did you know that Natural England is now charging for issuing wildlife licences? In this detailed guide, we explain the implications for your development, what charges apply and more importantly how we can help you manage this process.
When you need a licence
You need a licence from Natural England if you plan to disturb or remove certain protected wildlife species, or damage their habitats especially for development. As ecologists we can specify the licence(s) needed and apply on your behalf, for example for a badger sett, bats or dormice. You can find out more on our protected species survey page.
How charges will apply
Natural England’s charges will apply to licences issued for development or maintenance projects. Modifications to licences will also be charged for unless they are trivial in nature.
Some exemptions apply such as:
- Householder extension and home improvement projects
- Certain historic or culturally valuable properties
- Licences issued for non-development purposes, such as preventing serious damage to property or the spread of disease.
Schedule of charges
A schedule of charges for licences now applies. A set fee is given for ‘simple’ applications, ranging from £500 for bats to £690 for dormice. Complex applications are charged by the hour, based on an hourly rate of £101, plus a standard charge of £183 towards the cost of compliance monitoring. There is no VAT element to these charges.
Our quotes for licence applications take this licence charging into account, which is levied independently by Natural England. If you have any questions about how this may affect your project, please get in touch with us.
New charge form
There is an additional form, the Charge Form, which we can fill in on your behalf so that Natural England can confirm the price of the licence. This can be sent in either with the application, or in advance, so that a Price Indication can be issued by Natural England to help budgeting (note this price is not binding). Payment for the licence will be by invoice to the licence applicant (or other persons as set out within the application).
Bat and badger licences: less paperwork, quicker decisions
Several members of our ecology team are registered on Natural England’s bat and badger class licences, which means less paperwork is required to register your site for use under either of these licences. You will get a much quicker decision than with the traditional route (5-10 working days as opposed to thirty). The new licence charges will also be less: £130 for registering a site for bats and £160 for badgers. But please note that the Bat Mitigation Class Licence can only be used for some species and in specific situations.
If you need advice on licences or ecology surveys please contact us:
Jenny Stuart, Principal Ecologist
Tel: 01872 302314