Natural England has, this week, issued a consultation on its desire to start charging applicants who require a species in an attempt to plug its funding gap.
This has been in part due to the re-development of land since the property recession. Given the Government's aspiration to develop more new homes and the release of Green Belt land for such development, the regulator is facing challenges with this increase in demand which is both real and forecasted.
Developers should review the consultation and factor these costs and any potential delay caused by applying for such licences into the development and construction timetable.
Natural England plans to charge for assessing and issuing species licences in a bid to shore up resources after repeated funding cuts. It wants to change the service from one that is wholly paid by government to one that is both government and user-funded. It launched a consultation on the proposals on 12 December.