Great crested newts pilot to be rolled out nationwide

Natural England is to implement a new approach to the conservation of great crested newts across the country, following a pilot in Surrey. 

The move was announced in the government’s housing white paper, published yesterday. Delays to development caused by the presence of great crested newts, a European protected species, have been cited by housebuilders as a ‘significant impediment’ to building homes that have received planning permission, according to the paper. 

Government conservation advisor Natural England has been trialling a new method of protecting the species from development with Woking Borough Council. 

This replaces site-by-site licensing with a new system of plan-level licensing, with surveys and habitat compensation undertaken at the district level by Natural England and the local authority. Developers can buy into these projects, rather than the current system of undertaking individual site surveys, provide on-site mitigation and ...

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