Great crested newts are a protected species that spend the majority of their lives on land, but must migrate to water in order to breed.This is why surveys are constrained to the breeding period from mid March to mid June, so forward planning is essential (see A Guide to the Survey Seasons).  Licensed persons must carry out all survey methods.

The first stage in the process is a great crested newt scoping survey. All ponds and habitat within 500m of the development site should be assessed. If a potential habitat is identified then further newt survey work will be necessary. The requirement is four visits in suitable weather conditions to define presence or absence, with a further two newt surveys required to enable a population estimate to be made. A population estimate is necessary if a license is required to enable the development to proceed.

A European Protected Species license may be required before development can start that affects newts or newt habitat. We can guide you through the complex licensing and mitigation process. A license application usually requires a Method Statement describing how the population will be conserved during and post development. Mitigation can involve barrier fencing, trapping and transporting animals to nearby receptor sites and creating habitat such as new ponds and ditches.

Survey Methods

  • Egg search: Examining submerged vegetation for newt eggs
  • Torching: Searching a pond by powerful torchlight at night
  • Netting: A dip net is used to search the perimeter of the pond
  • Bottle trapping: Bottle traps are submerged around the pond perimeter at dusk and removed the next morning. This method should only take place when night time temperatures exceed 5°C
  • Terrestrial search: Artificial refugia are placed and carefully searched

Types of survey

Presence/Absence survey: To determine the presence or absence of great crested newts. Up to four survey visits in suitable weather conditions are required. Three different survey methods must be used per visit. Population Size Class Assessment: Two further visits to assess the great crested newt population size.

We also undertake the following:

  • Exclusion fence installation and maintenance
  • Habitat creation / improvement