NE advice on EU protected species goes online

23rd October 2013


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IEMA

Natural England has published on its website basic advice for local authorities and developers on European protected species in an effort to help speed up the planning process

Previously developers and planners have had to wait up to 21 days for the regulator’s advice on applications that could impact species protected under European legislation, such as bats, great crested newts and freshwater fish.

Following trials with Cornwall county council and 60 local authorities in South East England, Natural England has now published its “standing advice” on EU protected species online at: naturalengland.org.uk.

Standing advice can be applied to any planning application that may affect protected species and provides advice on: deciding whether there is a “reasonable likelihood” of such species being present, and adequate survey and mitigation requirements.

Publishing standard advice online means that developers and planners will have to consult Natural England less often. This will reduce delays in the planning process by helping to speed up planning authorities’ decision making process, claims the regulator, which has been using the same approach for advice on UK protected species for the past two years.

“We have taken the new approach to make it easier for customers to save local planning authorities and developers’ time and resources,” said Rob Cooke, Natural England’s land use director.

The new online advice covers: bats, great crested newts, dormice, freshwater fish, higher and lower plants, invertebrates, natterjack toads, otters, sand lizards and smooth snakes.

The standing advice does not change the regulator’s approach to environmental impact assessments, however, and it will continue to offer bespoke advice in situations not covered by the standing advice or where a proposal may affect a site of special scientific interest, a special area of conservation, a special protection area or an important wetland area.


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