In May 2018, Natural England published the results of a recent consultation on its plans to charge for issuing licences – both survey licences and mitigation licences for development.
GSL Ecology responded to the consultation opposing the proposed charges because we do not believe that they will result in a better licensing service, and believe there will be a negative outcome for wildlife and for our clients.
However, Natural England plans to introduce charges for issuing a range of licences and these will increase costs for our clients (e.g. Natural England plan to charge £700 to issue a “non-complex” great crested newt mitigation licence, and £101 per hour for the time taken to assess a complex one). Details of proposed charges can be found https://consult.defra.gov.uk/natural-england/wildlife-licence-charges/
If the proposed charges are approved by parliament, probably in October 2018, they may come into force in early 2019 so we encourage our clients to consider the cost implications for their projects and, where possible apply for mitigation licences before the charges come into force.