Q&As

Can Natural England refuse an application or delay the processing of an application for a wildlife licence for a particular species on one part of a development site, until the conclusion of its legal action against the developer for lack of a wildlife licence for a different part of the same development site?

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Published on LexisPSL on 24/07/2019

The following Environment Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can Natural England refuse an application or delay the processing of an application for a wildlife licence for a particular species on one part of a development site, until the conclusion of its legal action against the developer for lack of a wildlife licence for a different part of the same development site?
  • Considerations Natural England may take into account in granting wildlife licences
  • Natural England powers relating to enforcement of wildlife licences
  • Challenging a refusal by Natural England to grant a wildlife licence

Can Natural England refuse an application or delay the processing of an application for a wildlife licence for a particular species on one part of a development site, until the conclusion of its legal action against the developer for lack of a wildlife licence for a different part of the same development site?

Considerations Natural England may take into account in granting wildlife licences

Natural England is authorised to issue and enforce wildlife licences in the terrestrial environment in England as an ‘appropriate authority’ under the section 16 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981).

The wildlife offences in WCA 1981, ss 1, 5, 6(3)–8 will not apply to anything done for certain prescribed purposes under and in accordance with the terms of a licence granted by Natural England. For example, a wildlife licence is required if there are plans to carry out an activity which will disturb or remove wildlife or damage habitats. Licences are only issued if the activity meets certain legislative requirements. There must also be a likelihood that an offence will occur; if there is a negligible risk of an offence being caused, then this negates the requirement for a licence.

Licences are only issued for specified purposes which are set down in the legislation (eg, protecting public health and safety, preventing damage to property, etc), and only if certain specific criteria

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