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Welcoming Natural England’s new scheme to save planning time as well as great crested newts

21st January 2021

We have welcomed the introduction of a District-level Licensing Scheme, by Natural England, which can potentially save years in the planning process by removing the need for on-site mitigation and translocation of great crested newts.

Many building projects have been significantly delayed over the years thanks to rural surveyors having to deal with great crested newts on the proposed building site. The traditional method of dealing with newts involves months (if not years) of surveys, gaining planning approval of your mitigation scheme, obtaining a Natural England licence, months of trapping and translocating and then expensive habitat creation.

Natural England has developed a ‘District-level Licensing Scheme’ (DLLS) in several parts of the country which removes the need for on-site mitigation and translocation. Instead of protecting each and every newt on-site (which the current system does), the DLLS allows the landowner to contribute a standardised payment towards a larger scheme elsewhere in the district or county which enables the existing population there to flourish.

Richard Corbett, Partner with Roger Parry & Partners said, “Whilst the importance of protecting vulnerable species should not be understated, the existing process is laborious and can add years onto building projects. We welcome this new scheme which has been introduced to Shropshire and parts of Cheshire as well as other specific parts of England. We hope the Welsh Government will take a similar approach across Wales in the near future.”  

Landowners can apply to join a district level licensing scheme, to manage the local great crested newt population, if they are developing land in certain parts of England. Full details on the locations currently in the scheme can be found here:

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