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Natural England sets out licence charges proposal

Natural England sets out licence charges proposal

18 May 2018

Following the consultation earlier this year on charging for licences, Natural England has responded to the consultation and set out their proposed pricing structure.

Mark Lang CEcol CEnv MCIEEM, a member of CIEEM's England Policy Group and Associate Technical Director – Ecology at the consultancy Arcadis, commented: "Arcadis do have some minor concerns regards the proposals from Natural England to charge for protected species licence returns. As a large commercial consultancy the proposed pricing structure seems reasonable and is unlikely to cause us a significant problem, and we welcome the exemptions for volunteers and conservation focused activity, however for smaller ecological consultancies and sole traders the pricing structure may have a more significant impact. However, we recognise that central government funding for Natural England is being squeezed and that the service Natural England has provided in recent years has suffered considerably as a direct consequence of this. If the charging proposals lead to a more streamlined, efficient and pragmatic protected species advice service from Natural England, then that will be to the benefit of ecologists, developers and the industry as a whole and is cautiously welcomed."

Natural England will seek Parliamentary approval for the charging scheme to be introduced as a Statutory Instrument under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 to come into force in October 2018. If approved, charges will be implemented when Natural England is confident that the service standard for licence delivery will be achieved and will be phased accordingly. This is unlikely to be before the beginning of 2019. Natural England will continue to consult with applicant groups and will provide updates through articles in the Wildlife Licensing Newsletter. Natural England will also develop system improvements, for example to enable online payment mechanisms.

Read the full response.

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