Great Crested Newts and District Level Licencing

There are now a few different ways to apply for a licence from Natural England to do development or other work that may affect great crested newts and find out how much you may need to pay. These include:

  • Norfolk and Suffolk have a district level licensing scheme, a quicker and simpler option to applying for a GCN mitigation licence. Find out more below.
  • Apply for a GCN Mitigation Licence
  • Or via an ecologist who is a registered consultant under Natural England's low-impact class licence scheme.

Benefits of district level licensing

In a nutshell district level licensing:

  • Better conserves great crested newts.
  • 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.

The cost to join the district level licensing scheme

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

More information

In autumn 2019, Natural England ran a series of webinars with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to provide more information on district level licensing:

Data open to all

As part of the district level licensing project, Natural England completed the largest ever survey of its type for great crested newts across England, funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The data is open and has been published to ArcGIS Online and is available at Read their blog to find out more.

Other things of interest

Read more about Natural England’s Geography in Government Award for their species distribution modelling for the district level licensing project.