Great Crested Newts, Bats, Otters and Dormice get INCREASED Protection!

Posted by on 27/07/2010

Details are yet to be finalised; however, what is certain is that amendments to the Conservation (Natural Habitats & c.) Regulations 1994 are due to be implemented from April 2007. This is a very complicated subject but the headlines of relevance to all those involved in development projects, are:

The European Protected Species (EPS) licensing system is to be changed because the UK was found lacking in the transposition of the Habitats Directive 1992 by a European Court Judgement in October 2005.

Defences under Regulation 40 of the Habitat Regulations 1994 are to be removed or updated, including those relating to:

  • Dwelling houses – a licence is now required in all cases where bats are present
  • Incidental result of a lawful operation defence to be removed
  • The thresholds in relation to disturbance are to be amended
  • A new offence for breaching licence conditions to be added

Developers/Landowners will be licence holders, which means they will be liable for breaches in licence conditions e.g. if a JCB runs over a newt fence and an offence occurs! The change was described as having similar implications as those prescribed by Health and Safety Law …

The Application Forms for licences will change as will the Method Statements (likely to be implemented from August 2007)

Applications cannot be submitted until the Local Planning Authority has completed an EPS Consultation Document within which they need to demonstrate ‘no alternatives’, ‘overriding need’, ‘favourable conservation status’ etc

If there are any issues outstanding in relation to the EPS and potentially other site issues (e.g. conditions) then it is likely that the application will be rejected until they have been resolved

Due to the implications and complexity of these amendments, we are proposing to provide training sessions to clients that can also be used as part of your Continued Professional Development. We have not yet established dates and this depends upon interest in the courses; however, it is likely that they will take place in Bath or if you prefer we can organise an event for your office. Please email us at info@ecosulis.co.uk if you are interested in this training and we will get back to you