Beavers: licences for surveys and research

Basic beaver surveys don’t require a licence as long as you are not interfering with dams, lodges or burrows.

Surveys usually involve walking through potential beaver habitat looking for signs of beavers and their activities such as lodges, slides, canals, dams, foraging signs, food caches and the like.

Such surveys don’t require a licence as your actions wouldn’t constitute an offence in relation to beavers.

You may require a licence if you plan to conduct more invasive examinations of beaver structures or if your proposal involves catching or marking beavers. If in doubt contact our licensing team

Licences are only granted where there’s no satisfactory alternative. This is one of the three strict European protected species licensing tests that must be met.

How to apply

To apply for a licence for survey, scientific or research work, email [email protected].

You should include:

  • your name, address and telephone number
  • full details of your project – covering what and who will be involved, and where and when
  • a completed licence application reference form

If this is your first licence application for this activity, we’ll need one reference from you. Your referee should be familiar with your work in this area and able to vouch for your competence.

Licence returns

A condition of any licence is that you must submit a licence return to us.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.

Find out more

Accompanying notes for survey and monitoring licences

Data Protection notice


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team

01463 725364

[email protected]

Last updated: