European Protected Species Licences: EPSL
WHAT IS A EPS LICENCE?
In circumstances where contravening wildlife law would be a likely outcome of a proposed development, a mitigation licence can be obtained to allow activities to be undertaken that would otherwise be prohibited, without committing an offence. Licences are issued by the relevant Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO), these are: Natural England (NE), the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW), Scottish National Heritage (SNH) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
WHY WOULD I NEED A EPS LICENCE?
There are several notable protected species that are protected by UK law and legislation. You need a mitigation licence if your work will have impacts on certain species that would otherwise be illegal, such as:
capturing, killing, disturbing or injuring them (on purpose or by not taking enough care)
damaging or destroying their breeding or resting places (even accidentally)
obstructing access to their resting or sheltering places (on purpose or by not taking enough care)
HOW DO I GET A EPS LICENCE
The relevant SNCO can only issue a licence if it is satisfied if their criteria are adhered to and there is no satisfactory alternative, and that the action authorised will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range.
The relevant SNCO will usually require sufficient survey data as evidence of the species that are present. This may require one of more seasons to collect so starting the process as soon as possible is highly recommended to minimise and risk of delays in a project. In certain cases (specifically for bats), a BAT MITIGATION CLASS LICENCE may be sought (only in England) that provides an alternative to the EPSL.
Aether Ecology specialise in working with clients and the relevant SNCOs to manage risks associated with protected species and the law. Our aim is to create the best possible solution for all parties involved using an innovative and pro-active approach. If you would like to inquire about gaining a development licence for protected species, contact us and we will be happy to help.