The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 makes any, deliberate or inadvertent, impact on one of the listed protected species of animal or plant (or their habitats) an offence under EU and UK law. The penalties include fines and imprisonment.
It is your responsibility to have the probability of your activities impacting European Protected Species (EPS) assessed professionally and, if they are likely to be affected, you will need a licence awarded by Natural England to give you exception to the law.
As of 1st April 2019 Natural England are undertaking a phased implementation of charges for licensing services. Depending on the species and the nature of the project, Natural England will adhere to a set of charging criteria and a pricing structure involving a fixed fee and variable rates to determine the licence application.
There are also a number of licence charge exemptions in place which may or may not apply to your project; it is therefore important to discuss the nature of your project with a professional ecologist who will be able to guide you through the licensing process.
You will also need to budget for a professional ecologist's time including:
Depending on the species, surveys need to be carried out over an appropriate period of time in order to adequately assess the site importance.
Natural England aim to issue a decision within 30 working days upon receipt of the application.
The licence will permit those works set out in the application such as demolition, provided all conditions are met. Conditions will typically include the training of on-site personnel / contractors (e.g. toolbox talks for roofers); the demolition and landscaping processes to be used; the phasing of work across the site; EPS removal by a licenced individual; and specific habitat enhancement or creation within the immediate area.
The licence will last for the duration of the development works plus the post-development monitoring period, if applicable. If the project start is delayed or works take longer than described in the application, an amendment to the licence will need to be obtained from Natural England. This does not generally require additional survey work.
Once you have contracted ECOSA as your ecological consultant we will guide you through the process, beginning with an initial site assessment, and planning in further relevant surveys if required.
You will need to identify the individual, for example the project manager or landowner, who will be the licensee and therefore legally responsible for compliance with the terms of the licence. You will also need to provide us with source material for the statement of need for the development and the planned activities and timetable of works.