Bid to boost newt population with new scheme for developers

A new Natural England scheme in Norfolk and Suffolk aims to help the UK’s threatened population of

A new Natural England scheme in Norfolk and Suffolk aims to help the UKs threatened population of great crested newts Picture: NATURAL ENGLAND - Credit: Archant

A new scheme is helping great crested newt populations in Suffolk and Norfolk by using cash from housebuilders.

The Natural England licensing scheme involves taking payments from developers and investing in four times the number of ponds affected by their construction projects.

In the past, landowners or housing developers in the counties had to apply for a licence before building on or around the places where newts live, which meant seasonal restrictions led to delays and uncertainty over the costs and scheduling of planned development.

MORE – Water company comes under fire from watchdog after 12 serious pollution incidentsNow a ‘landscape-scale’ approach to licensing means that developers can join their local scheme with a one-off payment to cover the creation, restoration, maintenance and monitoring of ponds in the area for 25 years, in sites selected to provide the best habitat for the threatened amphibian.

Natural England area manager Hannah Thacker said: “This initiative is a fantastic example of how working in partnership at a landscape scale can provide benefits for our largest species of newt, our local communities and other wildlife, as well as reducing the burden for developers – a true win-win.”

Natural England is working to expand the initiative to 150 local authorities across the country, as part of a programme funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.