Natural England has launched a new scheme in Lancashire to help conserve local populations of great crested newts whilst promoting sustainable development.
Great crested newts have seen dramatic declines in their populations over the last 60 years despite being legally protected. The new ‘District Level Licensing’ scheme (DLL) better protects this orange-bellied amphibian by using conservation payments from developers to create new ponds in locations that will benefit the species.
The scheme also benefits local people and authorities by avoiding costly delays for developers, helping to ensure homes are built and local authorities can deliver their plans.
The scheme will create a network of ponds providing vital habitat for our biggest native newt, helping to join up sometimes isolated populations and helping them to thrive.
Natural England, in partnership with Lancashire Wildlife Trust, will invest developer payments not only into creating or restoring new ponds but also taking care of and monitoring the ponds too, for the long term.
Previously, developers had to apply for a mitigation licence before building on or around the places where newts live. Seasonal restrictions on work in places where the newts were present led to delays and uncertainty over the costs and scheduling of planned development. This new ‘landscape scale’ licensing approach is better for both developers and newts. It provides a faster and more straightforward process than the traditional approach to licensing while helping to provide more homes for newts.