Ecology and Biodiversity


Protected species are a material consideration in the planning process. Information about the presence of protected species will be required before an application can be determined (surveys cannot be conditioned as part of a planning consent).

You can view and search for more information on ecology and biodiversity within the District by visiting the Cambridge & Peterborough Environmental Records Centre.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to provide any necessary surveys or ecological assessments and these should be undertaken by a suitably qualified expert. It is important to remember that some surveys can only be carried out at specific times of the year. You can check the guide below for the optimal survey times.

More information on the requirements for planning applications is available in the Standing Advice for Protected Species


Protected habitats should also be given consideration when proposing new development. Cambridgeshire County Council has produced a Biodiversity Checklist (pdf) and Biodiversity Guidance Notes (pdf) which provides more information on habitats for developers.

Developers will be expected to demonstrate how their proposal, small or large, has considered nature conservation and biodiversity and wherever possible we would expect to see existing features retained and opportunities for new features to be created.

Cambridgeshire District Level Licensing - Great Crested Newts 

District Level Licensing is now available in East Cambridgeshire and additional information can be found on the GOV.UK website

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:

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

Natural England have put together this note to explain the breakdown of fees and how they calculate the cose to join the scheme, together with some examples.

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:

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 Read their blog to find out more.