Natural England and Defra recently published updated guidance for Local Planning Authorities on how to assess a planning application when there are protected species on or near a proposed development site. New species policies were also published to allow ecologists to change survey, mitigation or compensation methods on development sites to benefit European protected species (EPS).
The EPS policies for mitigation licences can be used to reduce the level of survey you need to carry out, reduce the mitigation requirements, improve flexibility on where you create habitats as a compensation measure, so long as ecologists show that proposals will benefit the local EPS population.
The online guidance sets out details on the following four policies:
- Reduce mitigation measures for impacts on EPS
- Location of compensation habitats
- Let EPS use temporary habitats, and
- Alternative sources of evidence to reduce standard survey requirements
You must still apply for a mitigation licence if a development proposal affects an EPS in a way that would otherwise be illegal.
Natural England has also updated its standing advice for protected species and for ancient woodland, ancient and veteran trees. CIEEM was represented on the advisory groups for updating the standing advice on ancient woodlands.