When you need to apply for a protected species licence

You may need a licence to carry out certain activities.

You may need to show that the work is necessary and that there is no alternative way to do the work without affecting the protected species.

We may refuse a licence application if the work is not necessary or does not justify the harm it would cause to the species.

You may need to employ an ecologist to advise you before applying for a licence.

When you need a licence

You need a licence from Natural Resources Wales if you plan to disturb or remove wildlife or damage habitats.

You’ll need a licence if your work is to:

  • prevent damage to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, property or archaeology
  • protect public health and safety, such as demolishing an unsafe derelict building that hosts a bat roost
  • maintain or develop land, for example converting farmland or a brownfield site to housing
  • prevent disease among species
  • possess, transport, sell or exchange a protected species
  • survey for the presence of wildlife on your land for science or educational research or for conservation work

You will need to apply for a protected species licence if the work you are undertaking affects protected species or their resting places.

This includes:

  • loft conversion, re-roofing, barn conversion (if the building has a bat roost)
  • felling or thinning a woodland with trees that contain bat roosts or that contain red squirrel dreys
  • felling trees on or near a badger sett
  • ground works that would affect a pond and surrounding habitat used by great crested newts
  • a new housing development on land containing a badger sett
  • woodland management or other work in the vicinity of an otter breeding site or bat roost, such as old buildings, mine workings
  • riverbank works that may destroy or obstruct access to an otter holt or disturb otters while they are using the holt.
  • riverbank works in the vicinity of an otter breeding site
  • management or other work that may contain bat roosts, such as works to bridges
  • re-profiling of watercourses, removal of vegetation, or other works that may damage or destroy habitat used by water voles
  • removal of a trees, hedgerows, or coppicing in areas used by dormice

When you don’t need a licence

You can carry out work without a licence if you can organise your work in a way that will not disturb or harm the species or its habitat.

You don’t need a licence if:

  • you are controlling pests such as rats and cockroaches
  • you are not planning to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of a protected species
  • you are not planning to capture, kill, injure or disturb a protected species

Who can apply for a licence

You can apply for a licence if you are at least 18 years old. You can also apply if you are at least 16 years old and have wildlife licensing qualifications or awards, or if the application relates to the possession, transport, sale or exchange of a protected species.

You must be at least 16 years old to act as an accredited agent or assistant to an ecologist.

An accredited agent is a person named on the licence who may act on behalf of the ecologist in their absence.

The nominated ecologist employs the assistant ecologist to work under their direct supervision.

You do not need to name an assistant ecologist on the application form or licence. However, the nominated ecologist or accredited agent should keep a log of all assistants who have worked under a licence, as they may need to provide this information later.

Apply for a licence

Find out how to apply for a:

Contact us

You can contact us for help at any time during your licence application.

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