Councils across the UK will survey their authority areas for great crested newts over the next three years. Using the results from these surveys, they will produce spatial planning policies to inform development proposals at a local level. A pilot scheme was conducted in the Woking Borough of Surrey, which was deemed a success.
The aim is to allow Councils to authorise operations that may affect great crested newts on development sites at the same time as granting planning permission, removing the need for expensive surveys prior to building works and avoid the lengthy delays involved with individual licences to disturb newts if they are present.
The scheme has been welcomed by key wildlife officials from Natural England, The Wildlife Trusts England and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust, as well as policy makers and business associations.
The national roll-out of the new approach to great crested newt licensing is announced here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-roll-out-of-new-approach-to-great-crested-newt-licensing
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