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Cambridgeshire to benefit from sustainable development initiative - Natural England

Protected: The great crested newt is the UK's largest species of newt. Credit Natural England / Peter Wakely
Protected: The great crested newt is the UK's largest species of newt. Credit Natural England / Peter Wakely

A district level licensing scheme making it easier for developers to protect threatened populations of great crested newts is being rolled out in Cambridgeshire.

Natural England’s district level licensing initiative helps put an end to the costly delays faced by developers building in areas where the iconic species is present.

In the past, landowners or housing developers in Cambridgeshire had to apply for a licence before building on or around the newts’ pond habitat – on a site-by-site basis.

One simple application

Now, licensing is applied at a district level. This ‘landscape-scale’ approach means that developers need only make a single application and payment to join their local, area-wide scheme.

The one-off payment covers the creation, restoration, maintenance and monitoring of ponds around the area for 25 years, in locations specially chosen to provide the best habitat and most benefit.

Quicker and easier

This award-winning, evidence-based approach to licensing helps streamline regulation to better protect newts for the future, while enabling developers and local authorities to deliver on their investment and home-building plans.

Great crested newts are the UK’s largest species of newt. But their population has seen dramatic declines over the last 60 years.

Despite being protected under UK and EU law, the species suffered the loss of around 50% of its pond habitat in the 20th century.

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