Licences for European Protected Species under Regulation 55 of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and Article 9 of the EC Birds Directive

Reporting obligations

NRW can issue licences to carry out actions that affect animals or plants listed as European Protected Species (EPS) and wild birds.

Licences for birds are issued under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Licences for other animals and plants under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Before EU exit, NRW reported licences to the European Commission under Article 16 of the Habitats Directive and Article 9 of the Birds Directive.

The Habitats Directive obligation is now transferred into UK legislation.

NRW must publish a report every 2 years. This is according to Regulation 55 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.  

NRW has chosen to publish details of the licences issued for birds, although this is not required by law. We have published this alongside our publications of licences for other animals and plant

This statement is supplemental to the data provided on European Protected Species licences and Wild Bird Licences. This should be considered as part of our report.

Issuing a licence

NRW can only issue a licence for a specific purpose under the legislation. For example

  • for research or teaching (Birds)
  • for scientific or educational purposes (EPS)
  • in the interests of public health or public safety
  • to prevent serious damage to crops, livestock, forests, fisheries and water
  • when it is key to the public interest, such as for social or economic reasons (EPS only)
  • for conservation of wildlife

Applicants must show that

  • their purpose is appropriate to the Habitats Regulations or the aims of the Birds Directive
  • there is no satisfactory alternative or solution
  • it will not damage the stability of the species’ population conservation status in their usual habitats.

To prove no damage to a European Protected Species’ population conservation status will occur, the applicant must provide 

  • robust survey data
  • methodology
  • appropriate mitigation and compensation measures

The applicant must prove that they have the skills, knowledge and experience to oversee and undertake the works.


When NRW issues licences to take or capture certain European Protected Species, only the following standard methods are permitted.

  • Bats - hand, appropriate nets including harp trap or mist net
  • Great Crested Newts – hand, bottle traps or pit fall traps
  • Dormice – hand
  • Plants – hand or grapnel

The licence identifies the approved methods to use and when the activities can be done.

Licence return reports

Licence return reports are a condition of every licence. It should be submitted within four weeks of its expiry.

If mitigation is needed, post-works monitoring is a condition of the permit and should also be reported.

NRW’s specialists review monitoring results and follow up reports that are not submitted. Non-compliance with permit conditions is subject to enforcement action.

Further information

For further information visit our Permits and Permissions pages.




Last updated