First of all, what is a European protected species licence? An EPSL, as they are commonly referred to by ecologists, essentially grant the licencee (you) permission from an agency of the UK Government to undertake operations that might otherwise be a criminal offence; provided that you can demonstrate through reasoned argument that this action is unavoidable or in the overriding public interest.
This would include for example, disturbing or destroying the habitat of a legally protected species in the course of achieving your project’s objective. Unlike other ecological consultancies, Arbtech have in-house expertise for a broad range of animals, with all of our ecologists being a licence holder for one or more species. In fact, Arbtech have completed over 150 European protected species licence applications on behalf of clients like you, since 2012. Every single one was a success.
When can a licence be granted?
As well as needing a planning consent before you apply for your EPSL, there are three tests your development must meet in order to obtain your licence:
- Absent Satisfactory Alternatives
- Overriding Public Interest (health and safety, local or national economic benefit, etc)
- Population Maintenance at Favourable Conservation Status
In respect to the third test, which is by far the most common and easiest to be met, Natural Resource Wales have this to say:
Your development scheme may need to be] modified to avoid or minimise adverse effects (mitigation), or that an alternative breeding site/resting place or habitat is provided instead to safeguard the FCS (compensation). Either way, you will need the advice of an ecological consultant. Along with filling in the licence application form, the consultant will need to write a method statement explaining how the work will be done to minimise any detrimental effects.
If you are likely to undertake works that would detrimentally influence protected species or their habitats, you must apply to obtain and licence from a Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO), such as Natural England, Natural Resource Wales, or Scottish Natural Heritage. The licence will not be unreasonably withheld if you (via Arbtech, your ecological consultants) can demonstrate that one or more of the three tests above are met. If you would like to talk to someone about your protected species site issues or an EPSL application, please call or use the form below.