The district level licencing scheme for great crested newts, a European protected species, is now live in Wealden and seven other districts in East Sussex. 

The scheme provides an alternative option from the traditional European protected species mitigation licencing direct from Natural England, with licences being issued from the local authority itself and administered in East Sussex by NatureSpace. 

The scheme provides a straightforward and low risk option for great crested newt licencing in the district with improved conservation outcomes for newts, such as newt friendly pond creation.

Great crested newts are a widespread but declining protected species in the UK.  The scheme, approved by Natural England, speeds up development delivery by providing an all year round option for licence application, negating the need to wait for the great crested newts survey window which runs from March – June, and other unforeseen delays.

Under the licencing option, development impacts are properly accounted for in the planning process and the funding raised from developments using the scheme will pay for targeted, high quality and well managed habitats. The landscape-scale compensation strategy provides demonstrable net gain and long-term protection for great crested newt conservation.

Wealden, and the wider East Sussex area, is an ideal area for the scheme since it is a stronghold for great crested newts. The area also has plans for significant infrastructure improvements and other development over the coming years.

The scheme also covers East Sussex County Council, Eastbourne Borough Council, Hastings Borough Council, Lewes District Council, Rother District Council, Hastings Borough Council and Brighton and Hove City Council. The South Downs National Park Authority also has access to this licensing option for developments within East Sussex.

The scheme is accessible to all developers, from householders to major infrastructure and commercial development projects, and applicants can receive a free site assessment by NatureSpace in just 10 days.

Wealden District Council’s portfolio holder for planning Councillor Ann Newton said, “The great crested newt licencing scheme in Wealden will provide clear benefits for great crested newts whilst securing long-term conservation of them in our district.” To learn more about the NatureSpace scheme, please visit: www.naturespaceuk.com/district-licensing-scheme