Free ponds for landowners in South Yorkshire

Since receiving funding from Natural England 2 years ago, Wildscapes CIC have installed over 100 free ponds for landowners across Yorkshire and are looking to install another 25 this coming winter.

The Aim

The work forms part of the Natural England led District Level licensing scheme for great crested newts (GCN).  This new scheme to South Yorkshire means that when a proposed development is likely to impact on GCN habitat, developers now have the option of a quicker and simpler alternative to the traditional GCN mitigation licence.  Since its launch earlier this year, the scheme has not only benefited developers in terms of certainty on costs and timescales, but has provided multiple new ponds for the benefit of GCN.

As the habitat delivery partner for the region, Wildscapes CIC aim to create new ponds in the most suitable locations to allow the newts to thrive.  This is done through consultation with Natural England’s identified strategic opportunity areas, local knowledge and GCN records.  Ponds are constructed within close proximity to known GCN populations and ideally in between several different GCN populations to promote breeding.  All these ponds are maintained and monitored by Wildscapes CIC in South Yorkshire for 25 years.

The Land Management team have a wealth of expertise in pond creation and restoration, having completed over 50 pond projects during 2020-21 alone. Experienced in working with national bodies, local authorities and private landowners, the team have delivered numerous ponds as part of Natural England’s District Level Licencing initiative in addition to supporting local landscaping projects and biodiversity enhancement strategies.

Fully funded by Natural England, landowners are not asked to contribute financially to the pond creation/ restoration (or suitable livestock fencing if required), but simply to take a few basic measures to protect the habitat quality of the pond.  The need for suitable land will be ongoing and interested parties are encouraged to contact Wildscapes CIC to discuss potential sites for consideration.

Pond Loss

  • 50% of the UK’s ponds were lost during the 20th century, whilst the majority of our remaining ponds are classed as being in a poor state.
  • Many ponds are man-made and were mainly lost from our landscape due to land use change; in particular, the move away from mixed farming that occurred from the early 1960s.
  • Modelling shows that it is the loss of these ponds that has been the main factor in the decline of GCN.

These has been identified as the key factors in the decline of GCN populations.  Not only does the District Level licensing scheme aid the development process, it aims to secure the long term protection of this species and their habitat.

Interested landowners

We’re delighted to confirm that we are now able to deliver a further batch of fully funded ponds in South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North Lincolnshire this year!  Interested landowners in the following areas are encouraged to get in touch by emailing info@wildscapes.co.uk or leaving a message on 0114 303 5123 and a member of our team will get back to you.

  • Barnsley
  • Doncaster
  • Sheffield
  • Rotherham
  • City of Derby
  • Erewash
  • South Derbyshire
  • NE Derbyshire
  • Derbyshire Dales
  • Bolsover
  • North Lincolnshire

Currently Wildscapes CIC are delivering the project in these areas only.  Please continue to check our social media channels for announcements for other areas across Yorkshire, Derbyshire & Lincolnshire.

Please note that to be eligible for the scheme, ponds will need to be a minimum size of 150m2.

Wildscapes CIC are happy to take on pond restoration and creation work outside of the Natural England and DEFRA scheme.  If you have a pond or suitable land that you’d like to develop then please feel free to contact Wildscapes CIC to discuss further.