Natural England has adopted national standing advice for protected species. It provides a consistent level of basic advice which can be applied to any planning application that could affect protected species. It replaces some of the individual comments that Natural England has provided in the past to local authorities.
1. This standing advice replaces some of the individual comments that Natural England has provided in the past when consulted by local authorities on applications that potentially 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.
2. Natural England’s aim is to support local authorities in carrying out their statutory duties by providing a consistent set of advice that applies to all planning applications. This guidance should result in higher quality planning applications and fewer objections from Natural England (and subsequent delays to decision timetables) due to a lack of survey information. The guidance is framed around the habitats and features associated with the presence of protected species, rather than the type of development. As such the advice can be applied to all types of development.
3. Unless other local consultation arrangements have been agreed, Natural England will continue to provide advice in the form of individual responses when consulted on planning applications:
Where surveys or reports have been submitted which indicate that an application is likely to affect species protected under the Habitats Regulations 2010 or other protected species where detailed advice is not provided by the Standing Advice; or
Where applications require an Environmental Impact Assessment or
Where applications affect Nationally important landscapes including an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or National Park; or
Where applications are likely to damage features of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI); or
Where applications are likely to have a significant effect upon Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA) or Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Sites); or
Minerals applications that would lead to the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land.
4. The standing advice replaces the individual responses we would have made in the following circumstances:
Applications that are submitted without the relevant protected species surveys;
Scoping surveys or risk assessments that recommend further surveys where these have not been undertaken and submitted with the scoping reports;
Applications containing mitigation proposals for certain species covered by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (water vole, white-clawed crayfish, common reptiles, barn owls, other breeding birds not protected by Schedule 1).
Advice on mitigation proposals for badgers.
5. Coverage of the advice
5.1. The advice applies to all local planning authorities in England.
5.2. Where appropriate, Natural England will also establish local protocols with planning authorities and other partners which supplement this standing advice.
This advice has been produced following national consultation, on the draft version, during August and September 2010. Many responses were received, principally from Local Authorities, NGOs and consultant ecologists. We are grateful for these and have used them to inform the Standing Advice - see the Consultation response report: (141kb).