Environmental consultancy Wildscapes CIC have embarked on a project to deliver a number of Great Crested Newt ponds across the Derbyshire region this winter.

The project forms part of a programme of works to enable the launch of Natural England led approaches to District Level licensing for the species.

Wildscapes CIC have been appointed by Natural England and DEFRA as the lead delivery contractor for the creation or restoration of over 20 great crested newt (GCN) ponds in Derbyshire.

The environmental consultancy is part of a national strategy to bolster populations in stronghold areas and allow Local Authorities to undertake landscape scale management of the population through District Level Licencing. As the initial effort for this, Natural England and DEFRA undertook a national habitat suitability and population study that identified population hot spots and important fringe areas nationally.

District Level licensing involves the creation of a large number of new ponds and restoration of those currently deemed unsuitable for use by GCN, and is an alternative to the site by site GCN licensing process which, up until now, has been used for development.  Strategic Opportunity Areas have be identified where GCN habitat would be best created or restored to provide strategic net gain; pond compensation will be focused within these areas.

Wildscapes CIC are keen to hear from landowners that may be interested in having a pond created or restored on their land. If suitable, the pond construction/restoration (including suitable livestock fencing if needed) would be carried out by Wildscapes CIC and completely financed by DEFRA along with maintenance and monitoring (eDNA) checks every three years for 25 years.