News Round-Up

Great crested newt conservation scheme now extended to County Councils

NatureSpace is delighted to announce the further expansion of its District Licensing Scheme for great crested newts. The NatureSpace scheme is now available for developers and operators applying for ‘county-level’ planning permissions across Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire – the first County-level licences to have been granted in England. Now more developers can deal with their great crested newt legal requirements in a quick, simple, certain and sustainable way.

The NatureSpace scheme already operates in 16 Local Planning Authorities across the South Midlands but today’s announcement means that developers and operators can now take advantage of the
scheme for all types of planning permissions – including minerals/waste projects, schools, roads and other infrastructure projects. The scheme is now in operation across the whole of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire and most of Buckinghamshire.

Approved by Government and licensed by Natural England, the NatureSpace scheme removes risk and uncertainty for developers, dramatically speeds up the licensing process and ensures a sustainable future for newts by creating high quality new habitats across the whole region.

NatureSpace CEO, Tom Tew said: “Today’s news means that more developers can now gain access to the District Licensing Scheme for many more projects – the NatureSpace scheme provides year-round certainty.”

Developments that may impact on great crested newts are often constrained into completing detailed surveys during a small three-month window once a year. Tom explains: “The need to provide detailed survey information can be a huge problem for development. If the survey season window is missed, the works can be postponed for a year, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds. With the NatureSpace Scheme, the whole area has already been surveyed upfront, avoiding the need for those lengthy, season-specific surveys. Under the scheme, a proportionate contribution to compensate for the net impacts of the project puts an end to delays and spiralling costs for developers.”

Alongside this latest news, NatureSpace recently announced that the District Licences held by the Local Planning Authorities means they can now authorise infrastructure projects, including roads, rail, utilities, car parks, healthcare, community and cultural facilities as well as and for projects such as amenity greenspace, allotments, cemeteries and waterways.

The scheme is fully supported and guided by the main conservation NGOs – Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust and Freshwater Habitats Trust – and has already delivered 64 high-quality ponds and 300ha of land for great crested newts.

To learn more about the NatureSpace scheme and how it is supporting development and sustainable conservation across the South Midlands, please visit: https://naturespaceuk.com/district-licensingscheme/

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