Great Crested Newt


If you are a developer proposing to develop land where your work will disturb or damage great crested newt (GCN) habitat (ponds and land around ponds). You must apply for a mitigation licence to prevent any illegal actions to this protected species.

There are now a few different ways to apply for a licence from Natural England to enable development or other work that may affect GCN:

District level licensing

Many places now have a district level licensing (DLL) scheme which is a quicker and simpler option to applying for a GCN mitigation licence

GCN mitigation licence

Apply for a traditional GCN mitigation licence

A low impact class licence

This scheme only applies where impacts to GCN and their habitat are considered to be small scale. This is implemented through a consultant ecologist who is registered for the scheme.

Benefits of DLL

  • better conserves GCN
  • 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


Natural England have put together information to explain the breakdown of fees and how they calculate the cost to join the scheme, with some examples.


Natural England ran a series of webinars with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to provide more information on DLL:

Natural England’s framework document

This framework document sets out the overarching principles for Natural England’s expectations for applications for organisational licences and will also apply to Natural England in the administration of its own DLL schemes. This document is aimed at helping organisations who are interested in participating in DLL. This document explains how Natural England approaches the assessment of such a scheme under the legal licensing tests and relevant policy, and the documents and mechanisms that are likely to be needed to enable a licence to be granted.

Data open to all

As part of the district level licensing project, Natural England completed the largest ever survey of its type for GCN across England, funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). Read their blog to find out more about this open and published data.

Natural England blogs