Warrington is home to many natural habitats. The protection and enhancement of these habitats are guided by national environmental legislation and policies being developed in the Local Development Framework.

Protected species

The Wildlife and Countryside Act and European Habitat regulations offer protection for a number of native flora and fauna. There are specific measures which developers are legally obliged to follow to protect habitats or mitigate the effects of any development as part of the planning process.

The presence of protected species such as Great Crested Newts, Bats and Water Voles in the borough is taken into account in planning applications

Great Crested Newt


Licensing for Great Crested Newt

There are now a few different ways to apply for a licence from Natural England to do development or other work that may affect great crested newts and find out how much you may need to pay:

  • Warrington Borough Council has a district level licensing scheme, a quicker and simpler option to applying for a GCN mitigation licence.
  • Apply for a GCN Mitigation Licence
  • Or via an ecologist who is a registered consultant under our low-impact class licence scheme.  


Benefits of district level licensing

In a nutshell district level licensing:

  • Better conserves great crested newts
  • Is simple to use
  • Offers developers certainty in terms of costs and timescales
  • Means developments that have been through planning will not be held up by protracted post-planning licensing
  • Results in lots of high value, secure ponds for newts which are managed and      monitored for the long term


The cost to join the district level licensing scheme

Natural England have put together a note to explain the breakdown of fees and how they calculate the cost to join the scheme, together with some examples, which is available in the sidebar.


More information

In autumn 2019, Natural England ran a series of webinars with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) to provide more information on district level licensing:

District Level Licensing: How the NE-led scheme works – scheme overview

District Level Licensing: eDNA Survey and Data Collection – evidence base #1

District Level Licensing: Species Distribution Modelling – evidence base #2

District Level Licensing: Habitat Delivery for the NE-led scheme

District Level Licensing: How to applydoes what it says!


Data open to all

As part of the district level licensing project, Natural England completed the largest ever survey of its type for great crested newts across England, funded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). The data is open and has been published to ArcGIS Online and is available at Data.gov.uk. Read their gov.uk blog to find out more.


Other things of interest

Read more about Natural England’s Geography in Government Award for their species distribution modelling for the district level licensing project.

Locally important sites

There are some local wildlife sites and Sites of Special Scientific Interest in the borough. These sites are Risley Moss and Rixton Claypits.

Planning applications

The National Planning Policy Framework states that the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by minimising impacts on biodiversity.

Planning applications may be invalid and not capable of registration if the required nature conservation documentation does not accompany a planning application.  The council has adopted validation checklists relating to planning application submissions, it is advisory to use these checklists before submitting your application.

Pre-application advice can be sought from the council.