European Protected Species (EPS) Disturbance Licensing
- Consent Needed and How to Obtain It
- Performance Standards
- Sampling/Monitoring Requirements
- Reporting Requirements
- Non Compliance
- Renewal and Variation
- Pending Legislation
|Requirement for Species Licence(s):||If there is a risk which cannot be removed or sufficiently reduced by the taking of mitigation measures then an EPS Disturbance (or Wildlife) Licence may be required to be granted by the regulatory authorities for a number of “purposes”. Purposes include “over-riding public interest” and “scientific and educational purposes”. Licences can however only be issued where there is no satisfactory alternative. The onus is on the developer carrying out an activity to:
It is expected that the majority of offshore activities will not require an EPS (or Wildlife) Licence since their potential for disturbance will fall below the threshold of the Regulations. This will be ascertained during the appropriate consent application process e.g. for Seismic, Geological Survey or Well Abandonment. Also see the Pending Legislation tab.
A species licence (or species licenses) allows an individual or organization to carry out an action in relation to a protected species that might otherwise be against the law.
Details relating to the EPS licensing requirements within Scotland (for inshore marine and onshore species) can be found on the SNH website. All cetacean species in Scotland are given protection under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (as amended).
EPS licensing requirements within England (for marine and onshore species) can be found on the Natural England (NE) website.
The JNCC is in the process of finalising draft guidance on Marine European Protected Species Disturbance (see the Pending Legislation tab).
In October 2013, it was announced by Natural England that Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and developers will no longer have to wait for 21 days for advice from Natural England on wildlife species covered by European law.
These latest improvements follow a wide-ranging review that Natural England carried out looking at how standing advice can be used more widely to help reduce red-tape for LPAs, which included carrying out pilots with Cornwall County Council and 60 authorities in South East England.
|How to apply for it:||The application process for an EPS licence for offshore activities is via the new PETS system. EPS licenses can be applied for as a standalone application or, alternatively, it can be raised as a Subsidiary Application Template (SAT) to the relevant Master Application Template (MAT). PETS applications are made on the UK Oil Portal. In Scotland (for inshore waters and onshore) a licence can only be granted for a specific purpose. Species Licence Applications forms and guidance for Scotland are available for download from the SNH website.In England and Wales (for inshore waters and onshore) it may be possible to achieve a general licence (dependant on the proposed activity) although these general licences are only available for activities which carry low risk for the conservation and preservation of the protected species in question.The type of information required in an application includes (but is not limited to):
|Who to Apply to:||For offshore oil and gas activities, BEIS is the regulatory authorities (see the Pending Legislation tab). Application for an EPS licence in Scotland is made to the Species Management Team, Scottish Government. Upon the receipt of all relevant information the application is sent to SNH for their consideration. Scottish Government Licensing Section can be contacted at:Species Management Team, Natural Resources Division
Edinburgh EH6 6QQ
Tel: 0131 244 6549
firstname.lastname@example.orgSNH Licensing Section can be contacted at:Licensing Section
Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Inverness IV3 8NW
Tel No. 01463725000
LICENSING@snh.gov.uk(Please note these details remain outside the control of this site and may be amended or altered without reference to this site)Natural England is the primary licensing authority for species licences in England and Wales. NE licensing service can be contacted at:Wildlife Management and Licensing Service
Bristol BS10 6NJ
Tel: 0845 601 4523 (local rate)
|When to apply:||Licence(s) should be applied for and permission granted prior to any licensed activity commencing. The time scale between submission and a decision is given as a guideline of 6 to 8 weeks.Lack of response within 30 days from the licensing authority should not be assumed as tacit approval.|
|Disturbance:||It an offence to deliberately disturb wild animals of a European Protected Species in such a way as to significantly affect:
|Monitoring Requirements:||Natural England and SNH monitor activities carried out under the terms of licences and permits to ensure compliance of licence conditions.|
|Reporting:||Not directly applicable.|
|Non Compliance:||The planning authority is obliged to take proper account of the obligations stemming from the Birds and Habitats Directives to protect and conserve the marine environment. Natural England (NE) have powers to enforce the obligations set out under the conditions of licence. Enforcement will be applied following Natural England’s Enforcement Policy. Complaints or reports of an alleged offence will be investigated. Enforcement powers can range from a simple caution to prosecution under the relevant legislation.Scottish Natural Heritage cannot instigate proceedings in Scotland. The law is enforced by the police and each force in Scotland has its own Wildlife Crime Officer.|
|Not directly applicable.|
|Disturbance Licensing Application:||The Offshore Marine Conservation Regulations as amended by The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 introduced offshore controls to protect European Protected Species, as required under Article 12 of the Habitats Directive and these have supplemented and amended controls that were available in territorial waters under Conservation (Natural Habitats) Regulations. BEIS will be the regulator for offshore energy-related activities, apart from in Devolved Authority territorial waters.There is currently no formal application process – operators are including disturbance assessments for seismic surveys and piling operations in sensitive areas based on JNCC guidance. BEIS has held meetings have been held with other regulators and the Statutory Nature Conservation Agency (SNCA) consultees, to try to agree similar application forms and assessment processes. Developments are taking account of requirements of Noise Descriptor under Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD).The PON14A form has been amended to include elements relating to the Disturbance Licensing and MSFD requirements, and awaiting comments on amendments from SNCAs.|
|JNCC/CCW/NE Guidance on Marine European Protected Species Disturbance Assessment:||JNCC has produced draft guidance, but the final draft has still to be approved by Defra lawyers and the guidance has not been adopted by the Scottish Government. In the meantime, JNCC will provide copies of the draft guidance for information if required.|
|Wildlife Management Legislation Reform:||The Law Commission is undertaking consultation to reform outdated wildlife legislation. Much of the older legislation is out of step with modern requirements, and the principal modern Act – the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 – has been amended to such a degree that it is difficult for any non-specialists to use. Consultation ended in November 2012.|