Greylag geese and the moonlit sky ©Lorne Gill. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or

Licensing news

Read seasonal updates on species licensing and hear about new best practice guidelines and application requirements.

Get the latest news about Scottish Natural Heritage licensing – from details of new application requirements to seasonal updates on species licensing.

General Licences for Birds for 2020 published

The General Licences for Birds for 2020 have been published on our website.  GL 01 - 14 expire on 31st March 2020.

Updated fish-eating bird licence application form and guidance document

The SNH Licensing team has published an updated licence application form for fish-eating birds along with an updated guidance document to help applicants fill in the application form and provide us with the required supporting information.  It is hoped that this will make the application process simpler for applicants.  The documents can be found on our Birds - Licence forms and guidance documents (preventing serious damage, preserving public health and safety & air safety) web page.

General Licence Consultation 2019 now closed

Our General Licence Consultation ended on 9 October 2019 at 5pm.  Read our latest news release.

BLIMP – new Bat Low Impact licensing approach

The SNH Licensing team have launched the new bat low impact licensing approach or ‘BLIMP’, which is a lighter touch licensing approach for development works affecting low numbers of non-breeding soprano and common pipistrelle bats. Without altering the outcome for bats and bat roosts across Scotland, BLIMP will reduce the need for submission of individual licence applications and enable low-impact development activities to go ahead with minimal bureaucracy. As licensing authority, SNH want to ensure that our protected species conservation objectives are fulfilled whilst allowing people to get on with activities that realise social, economic and environmental benefits.

To gain a BLIMP licence ecologists will need to hold a current bat survey licence which is valid for Scotland, and will have a proven track record of expert experience and good practice. Bat surveys will be undertaken in accordance with BCT Good Practice Guidelines, and a species protection plan will be produced for each site incorporating  industry accepted mitigation and compensation to safeguard bats.  SNH licensing team will undertake quality assurance annually, and undertake site visits to check compliance with licence conditions.  

Common and soprano pipistrelle bats are generally well understood, are common and widespread throughout Scotland and are of favourable conservation status.  The availability of suitable habitats for soprano and common pipistrelle species bats, their favourable population dynamics and range will not be affected by licensing in this way. It is anticipated that BLIMP will incentivise and promote good survey and best practice.  It will support planners in fulfilment of their duties and remove potential delays to developers associated in having to apply for licences. In addition, BLIMP will reduce time and cost implications for bat ecologists and their clients whilst enabling  SNH to prioritise greater time and resources on bat issues with higher conservation impact. 

If you are a licensed bat ecologist and would like to apply for BLIMP please go to Bats: Licences for development and read the instructions under the section titled “How to apply”.