There are six native species of amphibian in the UK, with a seventh species, the pool frog recently re-introduced in 1995 at a single site in East Anglia. Although our work considers all species of amphibian within the biodiversity context and for mitigation purposes, the species that often presents a problem to developers is the great crested newt.
Great Crest Newt Surveys
The great crested newt is protected under UK and European law. It is an offence to kill, capture or disturb great crested newts and to damage or destroy their habitats. This includes terrestrial habitat as well as ponds. Great crested newts spend up to a two thirds of the year on land before moving to ponds for the breeding season in spring. When considering developments, suitable habitat up to 500 metres around a breeding pond is generally assessed for potential impacts. Due to the life cycle and complexities of surveying for great crested newts, there is a relatively small time period where surveys can take place. Great crest newt surveys must take place when great crested newts are in their breeding ponds from mid-March to mid-June.
Our team of great crested newt licensed specialists are experienced in assessment, survey and European Protected Species (EPS) licensing. With our breadth of knowledge and technical understanding of the ecology of this species, we have the capability to identify when great crested newts are likely to require consideration and ensure they are considered at the early stages of the project to avoid conflicts or delay. Our team can provide effective and efficient solutions to enable your project to proceed in line with the legislative requirements related to great crested newts. This also includes experience of using the latest innovation in GCN surveying, eDNA surveys. This is when eDNA samples are taken from the pond before being sent for laboratory testing to confirm if a GCN has been present within the body of water that season.
If a development is likely to affect great crested newts, a European Protected Species Licence will be required prior to the commencement of works. The loss of breeding ponds or terrestrial habitat will require mitigation under the licence and is likely to include exclusion fencing of ponds and terrestrial habitat, trapping of animals and translocation to a suitable receptor site, the creation of new ponds and the management of terrestrial habitat specific to the requirements of great crested newts.
Our great crested newt services include:
- Initial site assessment using Habitat Suitability Index (HSI)
- Presence / likely absence great crested newt surveys
- eDNA surveys
- Legislation & policy advice
- Population size class assessment
- EPS licence application and method statements
- Translocation strategies
- Ecological clerk of works
- Monitoring surveys – required as a condition of development licences
For more information about great crested newts and how we can deliver timely and cost effective solutions to your project please get in touch.