NE is to offer all councils in England the opportunity to apply for organisational GCN mitigation licences. This would allow councils to issue GCN authorisations at the same time as granting planning permission (a scheme which has been piloted in Woking Borough Council).
As part of a 3 year government funded programme NE and councils will:
- carry out surveys,
- map the potential impacts of developments,
- propose local conservation strategies, and
- identify landscape scale habitats to create/enhance prior to developments taking place.
Once the above work has been undertaken and councils have been granted their licence, developers could potentially save time and money by:
- a reduced need for /avoidance of, surveys and trapping, and
- choosing to pay a tariff to use the pre-established habitats to compensate for unavoidable losses on their sites.
This announcement comes shortly after NE announced four new policies for GCN and other European Protected Species (EPS). The policies (which are now in force) seek to achieve better outcomes for EPS and reduce unnecessary costs, delays and uncertainty.
The implications of the above changes to development proposals and programmes will vary, and will be influenced by site conditions, the local context and the nature of the development. Early consideration of issues associated with nature conservation is always recommended to ensure constraints and opportunities are understood.
Please get in touch to discuss how we can assist.