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Squirrel licences

The licensing scenarios presented below refer to work with red squirrels.  If you intend to work with grey squirrels, please email licensing@snh.gov.uk or telephone 01463 725364 and we can advise on any licensing requirements.

Licences for survey, science, research or education

There should be no need for a licence to carry out a basic survey for red squirrels providing that you take reasonable precaution to avoid intentionally or recklessly disturbing these animals in their dreys.  If such disturbance cannot be avoided, or if you are planning to carry out research or educational work that would otherwise result in an offence in relation to these species, Scottish Natural Heritage is the licensing authority.

If you wish to apply for a licence please email licensing@snh.gov.uk with:

  • your name, address, telephone number;
  • full details of your project/proposal including what you want to do, where you will be doing it, who will be doing it and when you want to do it;
  • completed reference forms  Word document  (if this is a first time you have applied for a licence for this activity we require two references from people who are familiar with your work in this area and who can vouch for your competence in carrying out this type of work).

Red squirrel licensing for social, economic or environmental purposes

It is possible to licence activities that could affect red squirrels for social, economic or environmental reasons.  This could cover a range of activities including development.  However, it is important to note that licences may only be issued for this purpose provided that:

  • the activity authorised by the licence will contribute to significant social, economic or environmental benefit;
  • there is no other satisfactory solution  PDF document  (this is assessed in the same way that we assess European protected species licensing Test 2 - No satisfactory alternative).

Guidance for applicants  PDF document - on the licensing purpose for non-bird species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 for 'social, economic or environmental purposes'.

If red squirrels or their dreys are likely to be found in or close to the site in question then it is strongly recommended that you have a survey undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced person.  If they are found then the surveyor should identify what impact the proposal might have on them and whether or not the proposed works could result in an offence.

Licence application form for works affecting red squirrels  Word document

Possession of specimens etc.

There is a general offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) against possession of a dead red squirrel or a part of one.  However, a person is not guilty of this offence if he or she can show that the animal had not been killed illegally.

Licences are therefore not necessary for someone to possess a dead red squirrel, but it will be up to that person to be able to demonstrate that it was not killed illegally should they be asked to do so by the police.

Licence returns

It is a condition of every licence that a return is submitted.  Please refer to your licence for the relevant return information required and send to licensing@snh.gov.uk clearly stating your name and licence number in the subject line.

Renewals and amendments

If you hold a licence which you wish to renew or you wish to amend your licence you can:

  • telephone 01463 725364 (please make sure you have your licence number to hand); or
  • email licensing@snh.gov.uk putting your licence number in the subject.

For further information or advice please contact licensing@snh.gov.uk or telephone 01463 725364.



Last updated on Tuesday 24th May 2016 at 16:05 PM. Click here to comment on this page