17 September 2014

Natural England Board determines outcome of General Licences Consultation

Over recent months Natural England has held a wide-ranging consultation to seek views on potential adjustments to General Licences for protected species which are periodically reviewed. The consultation finished on 19 May and attracted over 2,000 responses, all of which were all fully evaluated, and at a meeting in July, Natural England's Board considered how each of the questions in the consultation should be taken forward. 25 proposals have been well supported and the Board members were confident that these were the right changes to make in the interests of the effective and safe management of wildlife.

Andrew Sells, Natural England's Chairman, explains; "I welcome the Board's clear decision on which proposals to take forward and which to drop. We have listened to the replies to the consultation and we believe sound judgement and common sense have prevailed." Andrew added; "we can now move ahead with amending the General Licences with confidence that the changes being made will be well supported by licence users and will deliver improvements to the effective and safe management of wildlife within a proportionate regulatory framework.

This year's consultation requested views on 65 separate questions: 46 relating to specific proposals that Natural England were making and 19 where Natural England was seeking information rather than proposing a licence change.

The proposals Natural England put forward have asked legitimate questions about what the Licences should cover, which has been vital in helping develop their understanding of how these proposals might work practically. Consulting on the detail of General Licences is an important way of ensuring that protected species legislation works effectively and responds to changing wildlife management requirements.

A summary of the Board's decision in regard to each of the proposals and questions in the consultation can be found here.


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