Great crested newts and district level licensing

District level licensing is now available in West Suffolk and additional information can be found on GOV.UK - Great crested newts: district level licensing schemes.

District level licensing (DLL) is a type of strategic mitigation licence for great crested newts (GCN) granted in certain areas at a local authority or wider scale. A DLL scheme for GCN may be in place at the location of the development site. If a DLL scheme is in place, developers can make a financial contribution to strategic, off-site habitat compensation instead of applying for a separate licence or carrying out individual detailed surveys.

There are now a few different ways to apply for a licence from Natural England to do development or other work that may affect great crested newts and find out how much you may need to pay:

  • Norfolk and Suffolk have a district level licensing scheme, a quicker and simpler option to applying for a GCN mitigation licence. Find out more below.
  • Apply for a GCN mitigation licence at GOV.UK - Great crested newts: apply for a mitigation licence (A14).
  • Apply via an ecologist who is a registered consultant under our low impact class licence scheme.  

Benefits of district level licensing

In a nutshell, district level licensing:

  • better conserves great crested newts
  • is simple to use
  • offers developers certainty in terms of costs and timescales
  • means developments that have been through planning will not be held up by protracted post-planning licensing
  • results in lots of high value, secure ponds for newts which are managed and monitored for the long term.

The cost to join the district level licensing scheme 

Natural England have put together a document Natural England-led district level licensing: impact assessment, compensation and case studies to explain the breakdown of fees and how it calculates the cost to join the scheme, together with some examples. 

More information

In autumn 2019, Natural England ran a series of webinars with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to provide more information on district level licensing (available on YouTube):

Data open to all

As part of the district level licensing project, Natural England completed the largest ever survey of its type for great crested newts across England, funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Find out more at GOV.UK - Natural England blog - Natural England's geoportal: England-wide data for great crested news now available