Natural England - Natural England’s Revised Standing Advice for European Protected Species

Natural England’s Revised Standing Advice for European Protected Species

22 October 2013

Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and developers will no longer have to wait for 21 days for advice from Natural England on wildlife species covered by European law.

The latest improvements follow a wide-ranging review that Natural England has been carrying out to look at how standing advice can be used more widely to help reduce red-tape for LPAs, which has included carrying out pilots in the Summer with Cornwall County Council and 60 authorities in the South East.

By having access to standing advice on European Protected Species (EPS) on its website, LPAs and developers will be able to consult Natural England less often. The new approach on EPS will mirror the approach for species protected by domestic legislation, where Natural England has been referring LPAs and developers to standing advice for the past two years.

The new approach for EPS will provide greater consistency for LPAs and developers, and by helping speed up decision-making will reduce delays in the planning process.

The species covered by the new approach are bats, great crested newts, dormice, freshwater fish, higher and lower plants, invertebrates, natterjack toads, otters and two reptile species (sand lizards and smooth snakes).

Natural England will continue to provide bespoke advice in situations not covered by our standing advice or where a proposal is likely to result in significant harm.

It will also continue to provide bespoke responses to applications which may affect a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Special Area of Conservation, Special Protection Area or Important Wetland Area covered by the Ramsar Convention.

Natural England’s approach to Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultations will remain unaffected by the changes.

Rob Cooke, Natural England Land Use director, welcomed the new approach: “We have taken the new approach to make it easier for customers to save LPAs and developers time and resources in this hard-pressed economic climate. We are very grateful to the many local authorities who were involved in the successful pilots with us over the summer.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact Tony McDougal, 0300 060 2449, 07766133788, tony.mcdougal@naturalengland.org.uk

About Standing Advice

The Standing Advice provides a consistent level of basic advice which can be applied to any planning application that could affect protected species. It provides advice to planners on deciding if there is a ‘reasonable likelihood’ of protected species being present. It also provides advice on survey and mitigation requirements. As standing advice it is a material consideration in the determination of applications in the same way as any individual response received from Natural England following consultation. Information for LPAs on the Standing Advice for protected species is available on Natural England’s standing advice internet pages.

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