There are serious delays in Natural England issuing development (“European”) licences for bats and great crested newts and their normal 30-day turnaround is being missed by upto 3 weeks. Natural England has stated that this follows “the recent introduction of our new IT system”, but this issue appears to be continuous since at least March 2014, and appears to also be anecdotally linked to the number of trained staff available, and has not yet shown signs of improving.
The delays in the processing of Wildlife Licence applications, apply both to acknowledging receipt and the issuing of decisions (see update below for the four week period 24th November to 19th December 2014), and is worst for bats.
Natural England staff are apologetic for this delay, and we have spoken to advisors who have been distressed by the situation. Their office will be closed from 4pm 24th December 2014 until 2nd January 2015, which will mean another 5 days delay to any licences outstanding at Christmas. Area managers have been helpful in advising about delays.
We suggest that any clients requiring licencing in the next few months, engage us as soon as possible so that we can advise.
Great Crested Newts Update (as at 22nd December 2014 )
- 19 ‘New’ Applications outstanding.
- ‘New’ Application processing time : Average delay of 7 days [37 days versus 30 working day decision deadline ]
Bat Update (as at 22nd December 2014)
- 279 ‘New’ Applications outstanding.
- ‘New’ Application processing time : Average delay of 17 days [47 days versus 30 working day decision deadline ]