Bakerwell previously reported on Natural England’s new European protected species (EPS) licensing policies which were approved in December 2016.  The policies will mainly be of use with great crested newts, but are also aimed to cover species such as dormice, and bats.  The wording and a review of the new policies were provided in our February article.

Following a recent CIEEM webinar, we are now able to provide more detail on how Natural England expects these policies to be used.  Some of the key points are provided below;

  • Development spends 6-7 times more money on exclusion/relocating EPS than creating habitat
  • More, better quality, or better-connected habitat must be provided than would be using exclusion/relocation
  • The focus has shifted to ensure sufficient animals remain post development to colonise new habitat
  • Developers may benefit from the new EPS policies by freeing up habitat on-site for commercial use
  • Habitat compensation should be provided at the local or district scale
  • Population counts will continue to be a part of site by site applications
  • Survey effort lower than required in published guidance will be accepted in restricted circumstances
  • Restrictions to access (lack of permission / H&S issues) and urgent development need may justify this
  • Policy 4 may apply if standard surveys would not obtain better understanding of risks / opportunities 
  • Some survey / alternative information may be required, e.g. DNA analysis
  • Policy 4 does not allow for reduced certainty as to the level of impact
  • Mitigation for the maximum possible impact will be required
  • Compensation must be secured through S106 or NERC agreements
  • Monitoring requirements are likely to change, where an EPSML focuses on habitat compensation 
  • The policies can also be used in EPS licence applications
  • Natural England Standing Advice will be reviewed this spring
  • Advice on .gov website will be reviewed this summer

The full policy wordings and outcome of the original consultation can be accessed on the Natural England website.

References

 1 Popplewell, D. (February 2016).  Natural England’s New Licensing Policies.  Available from: http://bakerwell.co.uk/2017/02/14/natural-englands-new-licensing-policies/

2 Horswill, P and Cameron, R. (March 2017).  CIEEM Webinar – Natural England’s New EPS Licencing Policies. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26e90S0_foE

3 Natural England. (February 2016, updated January 2017). Wildlife licensing: comment on new policies for European protected species licences. Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/wildlife-licensing-comment-on-new-policies-for-european-protected-species-licences