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Posted by: Cain Blythe - CEnv MIEMA MCIEEM MSc BSc (Hons) on 23/05/2013

Natural England has recently been looking to reduce the amount of Further Information Requests with regard to great crested newt (GCN) licensing. The reason for this is that these requests often slow down the application process and this change helps to make it more efficient, particularly where only minor issues need to be resolved following assessment of the method statement.

In order to do this Natural England has added annex licensing to GCN licensing applications. This applies to new applications after April 2013 but can also apply to some resubmissions after this date.

In effect this allows Natural England to add information to an initial application. It also means that Wildlife Advisers assessing the method statement will now contact applicants direct to discuss the proposal and request minor changes to any of the delivery figures, maps or work schedules, as well as from the proposals in the method statement. However this does not mean that people making applications can take short cuts. A Method Statement is needed in order to inform people about the kind of work you intend to do and how it could potentially affect the local great crested newt population.

In some cases there may be some need to update Natural England. For example if there is a major change to a site layout during the application the relevant authorities should be informed as this could potentially disturb the great crested newt population.

Another crucial change is that all maps need to be dated and referenced. This is so that if there are any changes to a site layout this is clearly shown and indicates where the changes have occurred. For existing licences you may have to submit an updated annexed licence.

This amendment to the licensing process will also be introduced to other protected species such as bats and dormice. Given that the initial pilot of the GNC annex licensing reduced Further Information Requests by half, this could further speed up other licensing applications considerably.

If you are unsure what information is required for an application or want to know how the changes to annex licensing will apply to your application please feel free to contact us and we'd be happy to discuss it with you.

Categories: Ecological Consulting
Tags: great crested newt mitigation | great crested newt survey
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