New Ponds for Newts
Council District Licensing scheme supports the creation of 8 new ponds for great crested newts in the Forest of Dean District. These ponds will be vital for a wide range of native wildlife, including newts, frogs and toads, which are experiencing national declines.
Since August 2019, the Forest of Dean District Council has been working with partners on a new way to address development impacts on great crested newts, and to secure much needed habitat for the species. The District Licence (administered by the NatureSpace Partnership) offers developers a faster solution to great crested newt European Protected Species licensing, and the ability to obtain a free, up-front quote prior to receiving planning permission. What’s more, a portion of the fee is asset-locked for creation, restoration and management of wildlife ponds and important habitats at optimal locations within the District. Since the scheme began in 2018, 112 clean water ponds have been created or restored across the South Midlands and Gloucestershire (91 new ponds created and 21 ponds restored), and of these, over a third of individual ponds (36%) have already been colonised by newts. Common frogs, toads and smooth newts have also occupied new ponds, demonstrating the wider benefits of the scheme.
Cllr Sid Phelps, Cabinet Member for Wildlife said:
“Within a very short time the District Licensing for Great Crested Newts is having a positive effect. We thought it would, but it’s great to see the evidence from the Newt Conservation Partnership. Our wildlife has been in decline, and measures such as this will allow us to support wildlife recovery. It’s good to see the Forest on the front cover too.”
The District Licence is held by Forest of Dean District Council, but pond creation and habitat management is carried out on our behalf by the Newt Conservation Partnership, who have recently published the attached report. This highlights the success of the scheme and illustrates its potential to provide a meaningful contribution to the conservation of local biodiversity. Dr Pascale Nicolet, CEO of the Newt Conservation Partnership, said: “there are a lot of opportunities for habitat creation/restoration (aquatic and terrestrial) in the district – both in and out of the forest/wooded areas.”
As more developers join the scheme, the opportunities for habitat creation and restoration within the District increase. It is hoped that the ponds created under this scheme will provide a valuable, long-term contribution to the conservation of this European Protected Species, whilst offering developers a quicker solution to obtaining a great crested newt licence.
Further information regarding the district licensing scheme and great crested newts is available at: https://fdean.gov.uk/planning-and-building/wildlife-and-biodiversity/great-crested-newt-district-licensing-scheme/