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New scheme to protect newts created for Kent development

District Level Licensing, developed by Natural England to protect great crested newts, has been adopted for a new Kent development.

Chilmington Green is a new Kent development which will provide over 5,500 homes, four primary schools, community land, green spaces, recycling facilities, utilities, and supporting infrastructure. Under Natural England’s District Level Licensing new measures will be taken to protect great crested newts (GNC), a species protected under EU and UK conservation laws.

Natural England has worked closely with developer Barratt Homes and ecological consultant Bakerwell to bring part of this development into the District Level Licensing scheme. Payment into the scheme by Barratt Homes has funded six new ponds which have been strategically placed to join up and expand existing newt habitats and help make the species population more resilient and healthy.

Chair of Natural England Tony Juniper said: “I’m delighted to see district level licensing happening on the ground, at a landscape scale. This exemplifies how we want to work in the future.”

“Here in Kent we are working with businesses such as Barratt Homes to use licensing in a positive way that helps the environment. It’s great to see them responding so quickly and enthusiastically to our innovative new scheme.”

District Level Licensing is much simpler than the traditional site-based mitigation approach to licensing. It allows the impact of a development to be compensated for at a landscape or whole local authority area scale and through the scheme, developers in Kent can make a conservation payment which will cover the upfront creation or restoration of ponds in areas away from the development.

Up to 85% of the payments from developers under this scheme goes directly towards creating, looking after, and monitoring places for GCN to live, in stark contrast to the traditional approach. These areas, mapped by Natural England, represent the best places for newts to thrive and habitats created in Kent will be maintained and monitored for 25 years.

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