Natural England has today announced that they will launch an innovative new project which aims to make the licensing process more straightforward for developers, as well as ensuring that the conservation of newts will bring the greatest benefit to the species.
Andrew Sells, Chairman of Natural England, says:
“The current licensing system for European Protected Species in England is quite a rigid way of protecting great crested newts, placing the emphasis on individual newts, rather than the species as a whole. By making the system more flexible and strategic, it will enable us to establish habitat for great crested newts, where their populations will most benefit from being in a wide network of habitat, rather than being squeezed in around development.”
The project, to be launched this Autumn, should provide positive solutions by lifting constraints on the design of development land, and therefore streamlining the development process, whilst still protecting this rare species by providing better habitat for them.
Alan Law, Natural England’s Chief Strategy and Reform Officer, said:
“The great crested newt is one of our most striking aquatic creatures but has suffered from loss of habitat. England supports a number of significant breeding populations but our knowledge of their size and distribution is patchy. I hope this pilot will yield important information and provide a great deal of new habitat, both of which will help to improve the fortunes of this species.”