District level licensing for great crested newts
The October 2019 planning update newsletter, published by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Governments (MHCLG), outlines a new approach to district level licensing for great crested newts (GCNs) that has been developed by the MHCLG alongside Natural England.
The approach was created to streamline this particular issue within the planning process, with the ultimate aim to save developers time and money whilst ensuring continued conservation. Developers can pay a one-off conservation payment upon consent, as an alternative to the commissioning of site surveys, implementation of mitigation methods and obtaining a licence following consent. The conservation payments allow for the introduction and enhancement of suitable habitats for GCNs where they can thrive.
The newsletter highlights that this approach is currently available in 32 Local Planning Authorities (LPA) nationally and that the aim is to extend the approach to 150 more LPAs by 2020.