A wildlife licence can be issued to authorise what would otherwise be an offence under the nature conservation legislation. We will only issue a licence in the English marine environment or the Welsh offshore environment where the activity meets certain purposes and where there is no satisfactory alternative. The legislation that applies is:
- The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 2007
- The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2009
- The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2010
- The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010
- The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended)
- The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Variation of Schedules 5 and 8) (England and Wales) Order 2011
- The Conservation of Seals Act 1970
- The Conservation of Seals (England) Order 1999.
Who needs a licence?
A wildlife licence is required by anyone who wishes to carry out an activity in the English marine environment or the Welsh offshore environment that is prohibited under nature conservation legislation, where the activity cannot be sufficiently mitigated against. For example, a licence to disturb certain species during construction of wind farms or a licence to carry out scientific surveys.
How to get a licence
An applicant will need to provide details on the activity they wish to carry out, what species will be affected and for what purpose they wish to apply for a licence.
There is an informal screening exercise for applicants to assess:
- whether or not they need to apply for a licence
- which is the appropriate form
- what information we need to consider an application.
If you already know what form you need, please go directly to the application forms. Please note, all applications must be submitted with references.
You can also apply online using the new marine licensing online application system.
Amendments to licences
If you want to amend an existing licence, please contact us. Note that timescales for processing amendments will vary depending upon the changes required. Consultation may be needed and this can take up to 15 working days.
How to renew a licence
If you wish to continue a project after the expiry date of your current licence, a full application will be required each time in order to issue a new licence. This will ensure that we have all the correct and up to date information that will provide greater clarification for both applicant and the MMO.
If you are applying for another licence to continue your existing project, the end of licence report (WL 8 form) should be submitted at the same time as your new application. Failure to complete and submit this form is a breach of your licence and may result in any future applications being refused.
We will acknowledge receipt of an application within five working days and inform the applicant if any further information is required at this stage. We will make a decision as to whether a licence will be granted or refused within six weeks of receiving a full application, including all the required information. An explanation of the reasons for any refusal will be provided.
If an applicant does not receive a response within six weeks, it must not be assumed that a licence has been granted.
A condition of the licence is that you must provide us with a report (the WL 8 form) detailing action taken under the licence, even if no action is taken. You must return the report no later than one month after the expiry of the licence.
We also welcome existing scientific reports detailing work carried out under the licence. This allows us to better monitor and record research on protected species.
Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team
Marine Management Organisation
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tel: 0191 376 2538/2677
Fax: 0191 376 2681
European protected species licences (PDF 169 KB)
EPS meeting note for developers, April 2011 (PDF 39 KB)