Great Crested Newts (GCN) are the UK's largest newt species and have undergone significant population declines during the 20th century due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Great Crested Newts receive full legal protection under The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010 (as amended) and The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). It is illegal to deliberately injure, kill, capture or disturb a Great Crested Newt, or to damage, destroy or obstruct any places used for shelter and protection.
Which Survey Do You Need?
Our experienced ecologists can undertake all aspects of GCN survey, mitigation and habitat enhancement works. GCN spend much of their time on land within 500 metres of breeding ponds, therefore, if development proposals intend on removing/damaging ponds, terrestrial habitat or commuting routes, further survey work may be required.
- HSI Assessment: This rapid assessment looks at the Habitat Suitability of all ponds within 500 metres of the development. Those ponds which offer 'average' or above suitability may require further survey while low quality ponds can be excluded from further work. HSI Assessments can be carried out at any time of the year.
- Pond Survey: A presence/absence survey can only be conducted by a Natural England licensed surveyor and must be carried out between mid-March and mid-June during suitable weather conditions. The techniques used include bottle trapping, egg searching, torch surveying and netting methods.
- eDNA Surveys: This efficient method can rapidly assess the presence of GCN within waterbodies and is particularly useful on large sites where a number of ponds require survey. This survey can be undertaken from 15th April until 30th June and can allow ponds to be ruled out even outside the traditional survey season (note: if eDNA surveys come back positive then traditional surveys will still be required to assess numbers of GCN present).
If GCN are found during surveys it is often possible to design the development to avoid sensitive areas and mitigate effects to allow development to proceed. Our team have the experience required to work with you to ensure surveys are completed efficiently and mitigation designed to allow development to proceed.