Newt conservation scheme

New scheme will improve newt conservation and save developers time and money.

West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) has joined a new scheme that will deliver landscape-scale conservation benefits for great crested newts, lead to better compliance with related planning policy, and save time and money for developers.

The new arrangements are based on a District (or Organisational) Licence to be issued by Natural England to each of the local planning authorities in an extension to the ‘South Midlands’ pilot area, which includes all the Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) in Oxfordshire.

The licence allows the LPA to determine planning applications and authorise works in relation to great crested newts at the same time, and is based on a regional landscape-scale conservation strategy for the species. The aim is to provide new aquatic and terrestrial habitats in locations where there will be the most chance of success in bolstering and re-connecting existing populations.

Commenting on the new scheme, Cllr Norman MacRae WODC’s Cabinet Member for Environment said: “We are confident that this is a financially and environmentally sustainable long-term strategy to protect great crested newts. The scheme takes the delivery of habitat creation and species protection out of the hands of developers and gives those tasks to conservationists. The robust charging schedule for developers also streamlines the planning process so applications can be dealt with more efficiently."

Training seminars will be taking place during the summer/early autumn for planning officers, ecologists, planning consultants, developers and WODC Planning Committee members. If you are interested in participating in these, please email: planning@westoxon.gov.uk

In the meantime, to find out more information about this new scheme, please visit the Nature Space website 

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB