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Newt Scheme Extended

A scheme to protect great created newts by using payments from developers to fund the creation of optimum habitat in key locations has been extended by Natural England. FWAG East is delighted to be delivery partner for the scheme in Essex.

Great crested newts have seen dramatic declines in their populations over the last 60 years despite being protected under UK and EU law, with approximately 50% of ponds in the UK lost in the 20th Century. The new strategic approach is designed to turn around these declines by working at a landscape scale, rather than on a site-by-site basis (as has been the case with past approaches to great crested newt conservation).

The new ‘District Level Licensing Scheme’ is being rolled out across 37 local authorities, including those in Essex. According to Natural England, local partnership working – for example with FWAG – has been key to the success of the scheme so far.

The scheme better protects this iconic, orange-bellied amphibian by using conservation payments from developers to create new habitats in locations that geospatial data suggests have a high likelihood of benefitting the species as a whole.

The scheme also benefits local people and authorities by avoiding costly delays for developers, helping to ensure homes are built and local authorities can deliver their plans.

Lucy Jenkins, managing pond delivery for FWAG East, said, “This scheme makes sense for newts and for people. Ensuring clean water ponds are created or restored in areas away from development and by ensuring that these areas have good proximity to overwintering habitat – and good connectivity with other suitable ponds – has the potential to finally reverse the worrying population declines this species has endured for decades.’

If you have a pond which you think could benefit from restoration, or if you would like to create a habitat pond on your land, please contact us. Some pond projects may be eligible for funding under the DLL scheme: 01223 841507/ hello@fwageast.org.uk.

FWAG East is part of the FWAG Association: www.fwag.org.uk. FWAG East CIC is a limited company registered in England. Registered No: 08776388. Thanks to Chris Loades for images: http://chrisloades.webs.com/