Apply for a protected species licence

You must apply for a licence from Natural Resources Wales if you’re doing any work that affects a protected species in Wales. This includes:

  • disturbing, trapping or handling protected species
  • damaging their habitats, for example by restoring a pond or building a housing development

You may need to show that the work is necessary and that there is no alternative way to do the work without affecting the protected species.

We may refuse a licence application if the work is not necessary or does not justify the harm it would cause to the species.

Apply for a protected species licence

Apply for the following protected species licence:

When you need a licence

You will need a licence to:

  • prevent damage to agriculture, livestock, fisheries, property, or archaeology from protected species
  • protect public health and safety, such as demolishing an unsafe derelict building that hosts a bat roost
  • maintain or develop land, for example converting farmland or a brownfield site to housing
  • prevent disease among species
  • possess, transport, sell or exchange a protected species
  • survey for the presence of wildlife on your land for science or educational research or for conservation work
  • carry out loft conversions, re-roofing, barn conversions (if the building has a bat roost)
  • fell or thin a woodland with trees that contain bat roosts or that contain red squirrel dreys
  • fell trees on or near a badger sett
  • carry out ground works that would affect a pond and surrounding habitat used by great crested newts
  • start work on a new housing development on land containing a badger sett
  • carry out woodland management or other work in the vicinity of an otter breeding site or bat roost, such as old buildings or mine works
  • carry out work on a riverbank which may destroy or obstruct access to an otter holt or disturb otters while they are using the holt
  • manage or carry out other work that may contain bat roosts, such as works to bridges
  • carry out the re-profiling of watercourses, removal of vegetation, or other works that may damage or destroy habitat used by water voles
  • remove trees, hedgerows, or coppicing in areas used by dormice

When you don’t need a licence

You can carry out work without a licence if you can organise your work in a way that will not disturb or harm the species or its habitat.

You don’t need a licence if:

  • you are controlling pests such as rats and cockroaches
  • you are not planning to damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of a protected species
  • you are not planning to capture, kill, injure, or disturb a protected species

When you can apply for a licence

You can apply for a licence if you are at least 18 years old. You can also apply if you are at least 16 years old and have wildlife licensing qualifications or awards, or if the application relates to the possession, transport, sale or exchange of a protected species.

You must be at least 16 years old to act as an accredited agent or assistant to an ecologist.

An accredited agent is a person named on the licence who may act on behalf of the ecologist in their absence.

The nominated ecologist employs the assistant ecologist to work under their direct supervision.

You do not need to name an assistant ecologist on the application form or licence. However, the nominated ecologist or accredited agent should keep a log of all assistants who have worked under a licence, as they may need to provide this information later.

Contact us

You can contact us for help at any time during your licence application.

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