New protected species licensing approach from Natural England

Some of you may have read the article by Penny Simpson "Meeting the favourable conservation status for European Protected Species: A different approach" in the September 2015 edition of CIEEM's journal "In Practice".

The article scrutinised the "site based" approach to Great Crested Newt (GCN) licensing set out in Natural England's GCN Mitigation Guidelines. It suggested that a more strategic approach may be appropriate, under which compensatory habitat could be provided further afield and under which there would be a move away from the view that "every newt is sacred".

At the same time we understand that there have been ongoing discussions between Defra and Natural England over the appropriate approach to European Protected Species licensing and a positive response to Penny's article from Natural England has appeared in CIEEM's December 2015 edition of "In Practice".

Linked to this, Freeths LLP has recently had a very positive licensing outcome for one of its developer clients. Freeths, working together with consultancy FPCR, has obtained from Natural England a GCN licence for its client, permitting a 54-dwelling housing development in Derbyshire to proceed

  • Without requiring GCN fencing around the construction zone without requiring GCN trapping. Requiring only a destructive search prior to commencing development.
  •  Permitting killing of GCN in the event that any GCN remains in the construction zone following the destructive search thereby permitting development to proceed over the autumn and winter 2015/2016 and avoiding delays of at least 9 months and very significant costs.

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