Guidance

Great crested newts: district level licensing schemes

Apply to join a district level licensing scheme to manage great crested newt (GCN) populations if you are developing land in certain parts of England.

Documents

District level licensing enquiry form

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District level licensing application form

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Details

If you are a developer proposing to develop land, you can pay to join a district level licensing scheme. If you join a scheme, you do not need to:

  • carry out your own surveys
  • plan and carry out mitigation work

District level licensing schemes operate in certain parts of England to better protect great crested newt (GCN) populations. Schemes are operated by either:

  • Natural England
  • a local planning authority (LPA)
  • a third party on behalf of the LPA

If a district level licensing scheme does not operate in your area, you must apply for an individual licence to carry out work that affects a GCN.

Join a Natural England-led scheme

You can apply to join a Natural England-led scheme if you have a development proposal in:

  • Cambridgeshire
  • Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester
  • Essex
  • Greater Manchester
  • Kent and Medway
  • Leicestershire county (all districts except Blaby), Leicester city, Rutland, Rushcliffe and South Kesteven
  • Norfolk and Suffolk
  • North Somerset and South Gloucestershire
  • Shropshire - except Telford and Wrekin
  • Somerset - excluding the former West Somerset district and Exmoor National Park
  • Swindon and Wiltshire

Use the guidance for developers and complete the forms to join the Natural England scheme.

Join a partnership or council-led scheme

You can apply to join a NatureSpace Partnership-led scheme if you have a development proposal in:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Gloucestershire
  • Oxfordshire

If you have a development proposal in Telford and Wrekin, you can apply to join the Telford and Wrekin organisation-level scheme run by Telford and Wrekin Council. For further information contact Ecological Data Services at eds@telford.gov.uk.

If you have a development proposal in Woking, you can apply to join the Woking organisation-level scheme run by Woking Borough Council.

Natural England’s guidance for LPAs

Guidance is available to help LPAs assess development proposals that will affect GCNs.

You can get this guidance if:

  • Natural England leads a district level licensing scheme in your area
  • you operate a district level licensing scheme as an LPA
  • you hold a district level licence operated by NatureSpace Partnership

To see the guidance, or if you have any questions contact gcndll@naturalengland.org.uk.

The current standing advice for GCNs does not apply to developments using district level licensing.

If you are interested in leading a district level licensing scheme as an LPA, or as a third party organisation on behalf of an LPA, contact gcndll@naturalengland.org.uk.

Published 28 February 2019
Last updated 2 December 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added Leicestershire county (all districts except Blaby), Leicester city, Rutland, Rushcliffe and South Kesteven to the list of NE-led schemes.

  2. Added Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire to the NatureSpace partnership-led scheme.

  3. Added Norfolk and Suffolk to the list of Natural England-led schemes.

  4. Added the organisation-level scheme run by Telford and Wrekin Council.

  5. Cambridgeshire added to the list of NE-led schemes.

  6. North Somerset and South Gloucestershire added to list of NE-led schemes.

  7. Greater Manchester added to the list of NE-led schemes.

  8. Added Somerset to the list of NE-led schemes.

  9. Added Shropshire and Swindon & Wiltshire to the list of NE-led schemes.

  10. Added paragraph on interim guidance for LPAs. Minor edits to text.

  11. Guidance and forms for scheme in Kent and Cheshire updated.

  12. There is now a district level licensing scheme for great crested newts in Cheshire.

  13. First published.