Natural England has launched a new scheme in Cumbria to help conserve local populations of great crested newts while promoting sustainable development.
The new District Level Licensing' scheme will help create and restore a network of ponds providing vital habitat for the great crested newt across the county. The scheme will help join up isolated populations and help them to thrive.
Great crested newts have seen dramatic population declines over the last 60 years despite being legally protected. The scheme, which operates in several areas of England, uses conservation payments from developers to create new ponds in locations that will benefit this orange-bellied amphibian.
It also benefits local people, developers, and authorities by avoiding costly delays for developments, helping to ensure homes are built and local authorities can deliver their plans.
Duncan Brown, Natural England Natural England's District Level Licensing Operations Manager, said:
We are delighted to announce the rollout of District Level Licensing (DLL) in Cumbria. In August this year our partners and landowners created the 2000 pond funded by developer contributions across England. This is an expansion of DLL into Cumbria represents a win-win for both local developers and the future of this iconic species.
It's a fantastic example of working in partnership at a landscape scale and bringing improved conservation outcomes for our largest native newt and for wider biodiversity. Pond creation and restoration across Cumbria will help local populations expand and link up across the county and contribute towards nature recovery.
Natural England is working in partnership with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust to create and maintain habitat for great crested newts. These habitats would otherwise be threatened by development, with several new ponds being created or restored across Cumbria to date.
Dr Mike Strut, Senior Land Management Advisor / Consultancy Manager, Cumbria Wildlife Trust said:
This partnership scheme offers Cumbria Wildlife Trust the exciting opportunity to further expand our nature recovery programme. This is being done by combining the creation of newt ponds into existing and upcoming restoration projects.
It's both exciting and reassuring to know that this scheme will help to reverse the trend of pond habitat loss in Cumbria. By working closely with local farmers and landowners to create pond networks. We aim to benefit not only great crested newts but a wide range of other important pond and still water dependent species.
You can apply to join a district level licensing scheme for great crested newts if you are developing land via Gov.uk https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/great-crested-newts-district-level-licensing-schemes