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Natural England now empowered with civil sanctions

13 March 2012


From January, Natural England, like the Environment Agency before them, has been given powers to impose civil sanctions. Previously, Natural England was limited to the issue of warning letters, cautions or proceeding to full criminal prosecution.

While the police will still be responsible for enforcing offences against protected species, Natural England is responsible for enforcing the licences they issue in respect of protected species. Sanctions may now be imposed on developers and also on consultant ecologists deemed to have committed an offence in breaching the terms of a licence. The various civil sanctions available to NE, dependent on the offence and legislation in question, are:

  • fixed fines for companies and individuals for minor offences;
  • higher variable fines to reflect the financial benefit obtained by the offence;
  • Restoration Notices, requiring action to restore the consequences of an offence;
  • Compliance Notices, requiring steps to ensure compliance;
  • Stop Notice, requiring activity to cease;
  • Non-Compliance Penalty Notice; and
  • Enforcement and Third Party Undertakings offered to Natural England by those seeking to remedy or provide restitution for a potential or actual offence, in the hope of avoiding a future prosecution or civil action.

More guidance on Natural England's responsibility for the enforcement of the laws that protect wildlife and the natural environment in England, and the processes they follow, is available on the Natural England website.

We at ECOSA have an established record in guiding our clients through the licencing process and subsequently through the implementation of solutions to meet the requirements of European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licences.

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