Natural England licence and wildlife protection

Old barns and period outbuildings can make stunning modern homes. But if the property or land you want to convert or build on is already home to bats, dormice or other wildlife, you may need a special protection licence from Natural England.

We’ve worked on a number of construction projects where wildlife is living in these old buildings. In most cases, the local authority will call for an ecologist’s report as part of the planning application.

If your building does have links with wildlife, development can still get the go-ahead. However, you may have to put measures in place to re-home the wildlife as your building work may damage or disturb their natural habitat.

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment and issues licences to manage and safeguard wildlife and plants affected by activities such as surveys and development.

Protected animals and birds include:

    • great crested newts
    • dormice
    • white clawed crayfish
    • bats
    • badgers

In our experience, ignoring the wildlife issue on your building project will cost you time and money in the long run! So make sure you have all the licences from Natural England in place before any building work starts. Licences are free but time-limited and can require a site visit as part of the application.

Natural England Licence: find out more and get free advice