CIEEM Position Statement on Strategic Protected Species Licensing Schemes (December 2020)

In recent years there have been several initiatives in England attempting to streamline licensing for protected species by taking a more strategic view of delivering Favourable Conservation Status, rather than focusing on the protection of individuals. One of the features of such approaches is to limit delays to development by reducing the work done to survey and translocate the species at the site of impact and providing large scale strategic habitat enhancements. Such measures include District Level Licensing for great crested newts, Defra’s four ‘new licensing policies’ and the proposals in the Environment Bill for ‘Species Conservation Strategies’. It is possible that similar approaches may be adopted elsewhere, and CIEEM’s position relates to strategic protected species licensing in general, rather than to any specific model.

CIEEM welcomes initiatives to streamline the protected species licensing system for the benefit of all stakeholders, provided that such initiatives demonstrably enhance the conservation of the species concerned. We welcome developing a more strategic approach to mitigation and off-site compensation and agree that this can deliver better outcomes for biodiversity as well as for developers. With this in mind, we are supportive, in principle, of innovative initiatives that bring about positive change.