Considering wildlife when planning building development
When making a planning application, developers must consider the effects on wildlife as part of their application.
Biodiversity checklist for planning applications
Planning applications may need to include details about biodiversity and geological conservation.
The guidance note (PDF 675.7KB) shows what information needs to be provided with your planning application in relation to biodiversity and geological conservation, and in what circumstances this is required.
Planning applications near ponds
Great Crested Newts are protected through UK and European legislation. Surveys show they are in around a third of ponds in Central Bedfordshire, higher than the national average.
If a proposed development is within 500 metres of a pond, Great Crested Newts will be a planning consideration. If newts are present on the site, the planning application will need to include details of any impacts, mitigation, compensation and monitoring activities that will conserve, restore or increase the newts to favourable conservation status.
Safeguards may need to be incorporated, either as part of the construction; as a condition of granting the planning; and/or by legal agreement. You will also need a licence to undertake any development works near the newts.
There are two ways to gain a newt mitigation licence in Central Bedfordshire. You can apply direct to Natural England or join the District Licence scheme authorised by us under the district licence already granted by Natural England. Both routes will still need to have an preliminary ecological appraisal by a suitably qualified ecologist.
Site-based mitigation licensing
In this licensing route, developers need to commission their own newt surveys and apply to Natural England for their own newt mitigation licence (if planning permission is needed for the works, the licence can usually only be applied for after planning permission has been granted.) Environmental surveys will need to be carried out during the newt survey season from mid-March to mid-June to confirm the presence and quantity of newts and this information will need to be presented to us as part of your planning application, along with your mitigation and compensation proposals.
If there are newts present and you'd like to apply for a standard, site-based, licence, apply to Natural England for a licence (link opens in new window). You cannot apply for a licence before the newts are found. If you don't have a licence and newts are found during construction, all building works must stop until a Natural England licence has been granted.
Natural England has granted us a District Licence for great crested newts as part of a regional conservation scheme that is delivered by NatureSpace (link opens in new window).
In this licensing route, developers do not need to have additional surveys completed, as the impact on newts from the site will have already been included within a wider regional assessment.
Developers contact NatureSpace and pay for a certificate (or report) which they submit with their planning application.
Use of the licence is authorised by us when planning permission is granted (or shortly afterwards). However, you need to apply to enter the district licensing scheme and present a district licence certificate or report (obtained through NatureSpace) as part of your planning application to us.
There is little or no mitigation or compensation required by the developer on site, as this is undertaken as part of a wider newt conservation plan. You do not have to stop work if you find newts on site, as you'll be covered under the licence – the newts can be moved, and construction continued.
Download Natural England's district level licensing guidance for local planning authorities in the South Midlands.