Protected Species Licences

A wildlife licence gives a person permission to carry out an activity affecting a protected animal or plant that would otherwise be illegal. Licences are only issued for certain purposes, which are set down in the law, and only where there is a valid justification.

Who needs a licence?

A licence is required by anyone who wishes to carry out an activity prohibited under wildlife legislation. Examples that may be encountered within the planning and development system include: 

- licences to carry out surveys or conservation work, and

licences to disturb or damage the habitat of certain protected species.

How much does it cost?

All licences and all advice are provided free of charge by the relevant issuing body.

What do I need to do to get one?

This will vary depending on what you want to do. To obtain an application and more detailed information follow the links below to the relevant country web page. The guidance there will help you find the appropriate form and will explain what you need to do to get a licence.

How long does it take to get a licence?

A licence or a refusal (including an explanation) is issued as quickly as possible and normally within 30 working days of receiving an application. In certain cases, a response can be provided within 15 working days. The relevant application form will give full guidance.

Where can I get a licence?

You must apply for a licence from the relevant nature conservation body for the country where you live. The links below will take you to their web sites where there is detailed information available on what you need to do.


Protected Species Licenses in England

Protected Species Licenses in Northern Ireland
Protected Species Licenses in Scotland
Protected Species Licenses in Wales