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.

On this page:

What we cover

There are also regulations controlling:

Regulation standard

Natural England has produced a strategic standard for regulationexternal link which sets out what our regulatory role is and how we go about delivering it. It builds on the principles of the Regulators’ Compliance Code - our compliance and enforcement position (currently being reworked into a separate operational standard) and our customer service standards.

The regulation standard will help customers understand our regulatory work better and how they can expect us to undertake our activities. We would welcome feedback on the standard; please email comments to

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.

Customer service (regulation)

Providing excellent customer service is fundamental to the way Natural England carries out its regulatory activities. We publish:

  • our service standards: (134kb)pdf document
  • regular updates on our performance against those standards so that customers can understand more about our work, how we are doing and what they can expect from us.


We are constantly looking for ways in which we can improve the regulatory services we offer to our customers. To do this we need to understand what our customers think of the services we offer and how they could be improved.

We have various methods of gathering feedback all of which are regularly reviewed to provide insight into what our customers would like to see changed or improved. We use this information to help prioritise where we focus our limited resource.