New homes for people and wildlife across the North East - Natural England

Greener building and conserving wildlife goes hand in hand in the North East as a new approach to sustainable development is launched.

Natural England’s district level licensing (DLL) initiative, which better protects great crested newts, while also delivering the Government’s ambitions to build back greener, has been launched in Northumberland, Durham, Tyne & Wear and Tees Valley.

Great crested newts are protected under UK and EU law. It is an offence to disturb the species so developers must apply for a licence before undertaking any building work on or around the places that they live, trapping and relocating the species before starting work.

Seasonal restrictions can lead to delays and create uncertainty over the costs and scheduling of planned development, holding up house building.

District level licensing offers another way. Developers make a conservation payment to join their local DLL scheme, with the sum based on the predicted impact of their development.

The payment covers the creation or restoration of ponds in areas which are known to represent the best places for newts to thrive.

It means a faster and simpler system for developers, and benefits local people and authorities by avoiding costly delays and licensing uncertainty, helping to ensure homes are built and local authorities can deliver on their plans.

Most importantly, the scheme will support better conservation outcomes for our largest species of newt, at a landscape scale, helping local populations to expand and link up across the north east. This new habitat will be monitored and looked after by our local, expert partners for 25 years – all funded by the initial payment.

Posted on: 18 March 2021

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