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District Level Licensing

District licensing of development affecting great crested newts (GCN) involves consideration of the conservation of this species at a geographical scale broader than the development site in question. It can allow harm to individual GCN and their habitat caused by a development to be compensated for by the creation and/or restoration of suitable amounts of new habitat elsewhere. District licensing can be operated by local planning authorities (LPAs) within their areas, or by groups of LPAs, or other bodies on their behalf, or by Natural England. At the heart of district licensing is the grant, by Natural England, of an organisational licence permitting the holder to authorise developments affecting GCN in cases where planning permission is granted.

Resources on District Level Licensing for great crested newts including:

Watch our short video of the workshop on DLL at the CIEEM Conference, November 2019:

​Further resources on DLL

DLL Survey

Survey results – November 2018

This questionnaire was an attempt to see how ecologists perceive the changes that District Level Licensing may make to great crested newt mitigation.  The survey was completed by consultant ecologists and people involved in the planning application process for great crested newt licensing.  We wanted to know how people think this new scheme is going to change their workloads and how effective it will be for great crested newts.

Headline results

Headline results for the survey are that the majority of people feel that it will save developers time and money on projects.  Opinion was more divided on how the scheme would affect the conservation status of great crested newts.  There was some question over what the driving force for the changes were: whether objectives were more budget and time-focused or conservation-focused.

It is apparent looking at the results from the survey that there is a lot of confusion and uncertainty surrounding District Level Licensing.  Natural England may need to be clearer with the information they are putting out to allow people to provide their clients with up to date, good information.

The full Survey Report can be downloaded here.

About District Level Licensing

Natural England is introducing the District Level Licensing scheme after a pilot scheme in Woking. DLL relates to the issue of great crested newt (GCN) licences. England is the only region affected by the changes. The district level approach (also known as an Organisational Licence) is an alternative to the current site-specific licence. One aim is that the changes will help the conservation status of the great crested newt. It is also thought that it will help ease some of the issues individual developers come across when applying for planning permission.

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