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Easing the burden of license acquisition

Michael Brown from the JM Osborne Rural & Sporting team discusses species and habitat licensing.

Species and habitat licensing are fast becoming one of the most crucial aspects of Sporting Estate Management, which will be exacerbated in Scotland as Grouse Moor Licensing looms. At JM Osborne Rural and Sporting we are very familiar with licensing processes in both England and Scotland and can help clients successfully apply for a variety of Licences. 

Individual Licences to control predatory species such as Ravens and Gulls require a great deal of evidence to be granted, meaning that data collection must begin long before the submission of any application. Evidence is recorded via a variety of methods, from written diarised predation records to photographic and video evidence. We have an understanding of the requirements of both NatureScot and Natural England when completing a Licence application and so can help our clients to streamline the data collection process and record only the key data whilst advising what further steps may be required. 

Following data collection, we review evidence with clients and will submit an application on their behalf should we agree it appropriate. With the application successfully submitted, we work with the relevant licensing body until a decision is reached. Should the licence be granted, it is important the Licence holder (be this an Estate, farm or individual) complete the relevant notifications that may be required under the conditions of the Licence, before authorising “Agents” such as Gamekeepers to work under the Licence, ensuring they do not breach the conditions. The final stage of the process is to then complete the necessary return paperwork before the deadline, which we can complete too. 

In addition to species licensing, we have previously worked on a number of Applications to Burn on Deep Peat following the recent restrictions on this in England. With members of the team having helped write the prescriptions with DEFRA and completed training in the application process, we are able to work with Estates to design comprehensive management plans and applications for clients following on-site consultation. 

It is our view that we must fully engage with the licensing framework in both Scotland and England and lead the way in helping to shape the future of the Licences, which are so relevant to the operation of rural Estates and their businesses.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of an application for an individual species or habitat Licence, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Brown in the JM Osborne Rural & Sporting team on 01295 277197.


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