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  4. Great Crested Newt district licensing scheme

Great Crested Newt district licensing scheme

Developments within 500 metres of a pond

Great crested newts have protected status through UK and European legislation and must be considered as part of the planning application process.

Ponds are critical to great crested newts for breeding. Great crested Newts are also dependent upon other habitats such as woodland, hedgerows, rough grassland and scrub, travelling up to 500 metres between ponds.

You will need a licence to carry out development work where great crested newts are present. You can get a licence by:

Natural England Licensing Route

Surveys will need to be carried out during the recognised season (mid-March to mid-June) to confirm the presence of great crested newts. A population size class assessment may also be needed.

When presence of great crested newts is confirmed, details of surveys, mitigation and compensation will need to be submitted and agreed with the local planning authority as part of a planning application in order to comply with legislation as well as national and local planning policy.

Planning permission is required before a licence application is made to Natural England.

Once planning permission has been granted, an application will need to be prepared and submitted to Natural England, including details of impacts, mitigation, compensation and monitoring. This would need to demonstrate that compensation will restore, grow or enhance the great crested newt population.

If great crested newts were considered to be absent from a development site, but are then subsequently discovered during construction, all works must cease and Natural England contacted for advice. A licence application may subsequently need to be submitted to Natural England for approval before works can re-commence.

The District Licensing Route

The development can become authorised under Cotswold District Council’s great crested newt district licence (approved by Natural England). This means that the developer can opt into joining the scheme as part of their planning application before great crested newt surveys are carried out, i.e. before the presence of great crested newts is known. This is achieved by contacting the delivery body (NatureSpace), who conduct an assessment to confirm that the development is eligible for the scheme.

Once a developer has joined the scheme, NatureSpace carry out a metric assessment, which embeds the mitigation hierarchy, and identifies what level of compensation is required. Off-site compensation, monitoring and long-term habitat management is delivered by The Newt Conservation Partnership (NCP), a not-for-profit organisation. Compensation effort is focused on key high-quality habitats as part of a landscape-scale conservation plan for great crested newts.

All associated costs in joining the scheme are dependent on the development size, location (where it is sited on the Impact Risk Map) and impacts (the metric assessment). These are confirmed by NatureSpace once the developer has joined the scheme and before planning permission is granted by the local planning authority.