Natural England - Regulation and licensing

Regulation and licensing

Regulation affects a number of areas relating to the natural environment and Natural England's approach is set out in our Regulatory Strategy. We are implementing the Government’s regulatory reform agenda to provide a simpler and better regulatory service to our customers.

Scope of regulation

There is already considerable regulation affecting the management of wildlife, including licensing of activities.

Environmental protection is influenced by new European legislation, in particular the Environmental Damage Regulations.

There are also regulations controlling:

Regulatory Guidance and other information

All of our guidance, best practice guides and information relating to Natural England’s regulatory role is given in the List of Regulatory Guidance, Best Practice and Information: (145kb)excel spreadsheet. Each entry provides a link to the documents. Publication of this list is part of the Government’s commitment to the Code of Practice on Guidance on Regulationexternal link.

Legislation to protect the places we enjoy

There is substantial legislation relating to the designation of land to protect wildlife and geology and landscapes.

Implementation of the open access legislation contained in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 includes regulation for temporary closure.

Natural England also has enforcement responsibilities and powers, set out in our Enforcement Policy and Strategy.


Badgers and their setts are protected. Advice on their management and control, including licensing.


Setting the record straight over wildlife licensing myths

We sometimes see misleading information about wildlife licensing.
Natural England aims to bust the myths.