19 Aug 2016
Congratulations to our Ecology Team Leader, Dr Charlotte Sanderson, for qualifying as a Registered Consultant for the Great Crested Newt Low Impact Class Licence.
The GCN Low Impact Class Licence follows on from the Bat Low Impact Class Licence which Charlotte also qualified for (read article); this means that Charlotte was recognised by Natural England as being technically capable to take on licensing work with less rigorous regulation.
Natural England have reduced the paperwork for the licence application process considerably for sites where this licence would be appropriate, limiting the licencing burden on themselves, and subsequent delays to developments, such that sites can be registered under the licence in 15 days or less. The GCN Low Impact Class Licence will cover temporary and low impact works affecting terrestrial habitats and small sections of wet ditches on linear schemes, and will facilitate the removal of areas of permanent terrestrial habitat, the extent of which will be dictated by the proximity to GCN breeding ponds.
Natural England invited applicants to become GCN Registered Consultants earlier this year, allowing a select number of consultant ecologists take steps towards taking on work with less regulation. The rigorous criteria for potential Registered Consultants set by Natural England involved demonstrating experience of working on a range of great crested newt mitigation licence projects, as well as demonstrating a thorough understanding of the licensing process.
James Cross, Natural England's Chief Executive said, "This landmark saving for our customers is a key milestone on our journey to reduce regulatory burdens and improve real-world impact. We are saving customers time and money, providing a slicker, more efficient process, observing environmental law and achieving great things for nature.
"Our organisational licences are a win-win for large organisations and for the environment, supporting economic progress, whilst ensuring that there is no impact on species conservation.
"The changes to our system have the added bonus of reducing time spent by Natural England staff on advising and processing individual licences, meaning that we can usefully divert those resources elsewhere."1