1. What is the role of Natural England?
2. Does Natural England cover all of the UK?
3. I am very interested in working for Natural England. How can I find out about current job vacancies?
4. I have a real interest in nature conservation. Do you look for volunteers?
5. I would like a copy of a Natural England publication. How do I do this?
6. How can I view press releases issued by Natural England?
7. Are there any grants available from Natural England?
Access to the countryside
8. How can I find out about places to enjoy near to where I live?
9. What is open access land and is there any in my area?
10. Where can I find information about Rights of Way?
11. I know there are rules that I have to adhere to when visiting the countryside. How do I find out what these are?
12. Is there a mapping tool available that will give me more information about sites in England such as National Nature Reserve`s or Sites of Special Scientific Interest?
Information for farmers / landowners
More questions about Environmental Stewardship
Wildlife (including Wildlife Licensing)
16. What should I do if I think a crime is taking place?
17. The Government has announced that it will be piloting its Badger Control policy in two areas in 2012. What does this mean for Natural England?
18. I’m a member of the public and I am concerned about development works being undertaken on a site upon which it is known or believed that European protected species are present. What can I do to make sure they are operating legally?
19. I am planning a development in an area or building which might have bats. I know that they are protected, what should I do?
20. What can I do if badgers are digging up my garden or burrowing beneath a building?
21. There is a dead badger in the road outside our house. Who will remove it?
22. Foxes etc are scavenging from dustbins and making a mess – what can I do about it?
More questions about Wildlife management and licensing: (558kb)
23. Has Natural England been consulted on `x` development?
24. My neighbour has applied for planning permission and I am sure bats / great crested newts / smooth snakes are present but no survey has been made. What can I do?
25. I've heard that Natural England also plays a vital role in protecting our Marine Environment. Is this true?
26. I am concerned that a hedgerow is being removed. What are the regulations concerning Hedgerow removals?
Natural England’s purpose is defined in legislation: ‘To ensure that the natural environment is conserved, enhanced and managed for the benefit of present and future generations, thereby contributing to sustainable development’ (Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006). Our role is to support the government’s wider strategic policies and fulfil the aims and objectives set for us by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Natural England covers England only. For further information about Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales or the UK, please refer to:
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation. It works to deliver the UK and international responsibilities of these agencies.
Visit our Jobs page.
Yes. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and offering your time and skills to benefit local nature conservation, see How to register as a volunteer.
We have a publications catalogue which contains all of Natural England's publications.
Visit our News/ Press Releases page.
Yes, see Find a grant.
The natural environment offers many places for people to enjoy, whether for local short trips close to home, or for visits to the inspirational landscapes of our National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. We work in partnership with many organisations to provide and manage these places. See Places to enjoy.
Open access (also known as the ‘right to roam’) land is mapped access land that you can walk across without having to keep to the footpaths. You can locate and view maps in Open Access land.
See Rights of Way.
It is the highway authority (county council or unitary authority) who are responsible for maintaining and protecting public rights of way. Any questions on where you can walk or ride, about maintenance or obstructions, or whether a right exists should be addressed to a rights of way officer. If you do not know how to contact your highway authority see Find your local council.
The Countryside Code, which applies in England and Wales, makes it clear what the responsibilities are for both the public and the people who manage the land.
The Code applies to all parts of the countryside. Most of it is just good commonsense, designed to help us all respect, protect and enjoy our countryside.
Yes. Nature on the Map is our online mapping application. It`s straightforward to use and provides information on England's National and Local Nature Reserves, areas under agri-environment schemes, protected sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and Biodiversity Action Plan habitats.
Environmental Stewardship is an agri-environment scheme that provides funding to farmers and other land managers in England to deliver effective environmental management on your land.
There are various elements to Environmental Stewardship:
You should always contact the police if you think a crime is taking place. You need to speak to their wildlife crime officer. The more information you have about the incident the better. See Partnership for Action against Wildlife crime (PAW).
Alternatively you can report it online on the RSPB website.
Natural England is the licensing authority in England for licences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
Natural England's first task is to determine the two applications from areas participating in the pilot. Two areas will be selected by Defra from a short-list submitted by the farming industry and invited to submit an application for a licence to Natural England. Further licences to cull badgers will not be issued until the pilot phase is complete.
Natural England can check to see if they have a licence. If you can supply details such as the name of the site & its location we can check our records and confirm whether or not a licence has been issued, please be aware that Natural England cannot give out personal details such as names and addresses of licensees. Please contact the Wildlife Licensing Unit for further advice on 0845 6014523 or email: email@example.com.
If a licence has been issued you can write requesting a copy of the licence or other papers associated with the application under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004, note that personal details of licensees (names, addresses etc) cannot be released. If you have serious concerns about the site we can arrange for a site visit to be made, but if you consider it to be extremely urgent, you could contact the local police Wildlife Crime Officer and ask that they attend the site and check the details of the licence.
If no licence has been issued, then you should contact the police and request that they send a Wildlife Crime Officer (if available) to attend the site and to investigate your concerns.
If bats are present you are likely to need a licence under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and to carry out mitigation to ensure that the bats retain their required habitat. Initially you will need to arrange a survey for bats with a competent consultant. The results of this survey should be made available to the local planning authority to aid them in making a decision on the planning application. Following discussion with your consultant you in should apply for a licence from Natural England if required before you can start work. For further advice you can contact the Wildlife Licensing Unit on 0845 6014523 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guidance and an application form can be downloaded by using the link below.
Badgers and their setts are fully protected by the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 (as amended). Under this Act, Natural England can issue licences to interfere with badger setts or rarely to kill or take badgers for the “purpose of preventing serious damage to land, crops, poultry of any other form of property" provided that it can be demonstrated that there are no practical alternatives that do not require a licence and that the proposed action is likely to alleviate the problem. Where damage is not serious enough to warrant a licence, such as to flower borders or lawns, preventative measures will normally be advised, licences are generally not issued in these circumstances. However, where there is a sett in a garden that is causing, or is likely to cause, serious damage licences can be issued to enable interference with the sett(s) to repair or prevent damage. An application form can be downloaded using the link below, you can contact the Wildlife Licensing Unit on 0845 6014523 or email: email@example.com; for further advice please state your county or case number if your query relates to an existing case. When your application has been received a Natural England Wildlife Adviser will contact you and may arrange with you to undertake a site visit.
Dead animals found by the roadside are normally the result of road traffic accidents. If you do not wish to remove or dispose of the carcass yourself, your local Council (non-trunk roads) or the Highways Agency Tel: 08457 50 40 30 (trunk roads such as main 'A' roads and motorways) may be able to offer assistance.
Neither Natural England nor any other organisation routinely collects badger carcases, even if TB is suspected, with one exception: Natural England may undertake to collect a carcase if there is strong evidence to suggest that the animal has been poisoned by pesticides; if you suspect this to be the case you should telephone the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme on 0800 321600.
If you have any reason to believe that the badger was deliberately killed then the matter should be reported to the Wildlife Crime Officer at your local police station.
Foxes can be a nuisance, especially in urban areas; advice on deterring foxes can be obtained in our leaflet which can be downloaded using the link below. Foxes only have limited protection under legislation and they can be controlled without a licence, however only certain ways of doing this are permitted under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is illegal to kill them, or attempt to do so, by using any kind of poison and this includes gassing compounds. Fox control generally requires expertise and experience. A table of local staff is available on this link if you wish to speak to a Natural England Wildlife Adviser or contact the Wildlife Licensing Unit on 0845 6014523 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org please state your county.
If a development is being considered by a Council but has not yet been assigned a planning application number, Natural England is unlikely to have been consulted on it (although the Land Ops teams who are the planning ‘specialists’ do give pre-application advice for large or major planning applications).
We would recommend that you establish a complete species record/list (you may find it useful to talk to other neighbours in order to achieve this) and inform the Council immediately if any European Protected Species are known to be present. Where representations from other parties highlight the possible presence or the Council is aware of a protected or Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) species on the site, the Council should request a specific species (e.g. bat) survey from the applicant before determining the application.
Yes. We are responsible for advising Government and industry on marine conservation and seascape issues in England’s territorial waters (from the coast out to 12 nautical miles offshore).
We have a vital role in ensuring that our seas are sustained and that biodiversity is recovered for future generations. We are implementing Marine Conservation Zones introduced through the Marine and Coastal Access Act. Combining these new zones with existing designated areas, such as European Marine Sites and the marine components of SSSIs and Ramsar sites, will provide an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.
We also want to ensure that the use and management of the marine environment, outside protected areas, is more sustainable. We will work directly with sea fisheries and other industries, such as renewable energy and extractive industries to secure this objective. We will also influence policies and mechanisms, including a marine planning system.
Natural England is currently progressing 6 draft SACS and 2 potential SPAs on the inshore zone, more information on these sites can be found on the New Marine Natura 2000 sites - Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas webpages.
Under the Hedgerows Regulations 1997 it is against the law to remove or destroy certain hedgerows without permission from the local planning authority.
Local planning authority permission is required before removing hedges that are at least 20 metres (66 feet) in length, more than 30 years old and contain certain species of plant. The authority will assess the importance of the hedgerow using criteria set out in the regulations.
Hedgerows in areas covered by an Historic Landscape Characterisation are often protected on the basis of historic importance and their wildlife value.
A summary of the law is contained in the Defra leaflet 'Hedgerow Regulations: Your Question Answered'. More detailed guidance is contained in 'The Hedgerows Regulations 1997: A Guide to the Law and Good Practice'. You can request a copy of these, free of charge, by emailing email@example.com.
If you are receiving the funding under the Single Payment Scheme, you need to keep hedgerows in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition (GAEC).
Particular attention should be paid to GAEC 14 and GAEC 15 in the The Guide to Cross Compliance in England.