Newts - guidance for developers
Licensing for Great Crested Newt
If you are a developer proposing to develop land where your work will disturb or damage great crested newt (GCN) habitat (ponds and land around ponds). You must apply for a mitigation licence to prevent any illegal actions to this protected species.
How to apply for a licence
There are now a few different ways to apply for a licence from Natural England to enable development or other work that may affect GCN:
Many places now have a District Level Licensing (DLL) scheme which is a quicker and simpler option to applying for a GCN mitigation licence.
Benefits of District Level Licensing:
- Better conserves Great Crested Newts
- Is simple to use
- Offers developers certainty in terms of costs and timescales
- Means developments that have been through planning will not be held up by protracted post-planning licensing
- Results in lots of high value, secure ponds for newts which are managed and monitored for the long term
Apply for a traditional GCN mitigation licence
3. A Low Impact Class licence
This scheme only applies where impacts to GCN and their habitat are considered to be small scale. This is implemented through a consultant ecologist who is registered for the scheme.
Natural England ran a series of webinars with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to provide more information on DLL:
- District Level Licensing: How the NE-led scheme works (Scheme overview)
- District Level Licensing: eDNA Survey and Data Collection (Evidence base #1)
- District Level Licensing: Species Distribution Modelling ( Evidence base #2)
- District Level Licensing: Habitat Delivery for the NE-led scheme (Habitat Delivery)
- District Level Licensing: How to apply (Application process)
Natural England’s District Level Licensing Framework document
The Framework document sets out the overarching principles for Natural England’s expectations for applications for organisational licences and will also apply to Natural England in the administration of its own DLL schemes. The document is aimed at helping organisations who are interested in participating in DLL. The document explains how Natural England approaches the assessment of such a scheme under the legal licensing tests and relevant policy, and the documents and mechanisms that are likely to be needed to enable a licence to be granted.
Data open to all
As part of the district level licensing project, Natural England completed the largest ever survey of its type for GCN across England, funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Read the GOV.UK blog to find out more about this open and published data.
Natural England blogs
- Setting the Standard for District Level Licensing
- District Level Licensing team wins the Operational Delivery GSE Geography in Government Award
- Natural England’s Geoportal: England-wide data for great crested newts now available
- District Level Licensing: Hundreds of homes found for great crested newts