Great Crested Newts are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). Under this legislation, it is an offence to capture, kill, injure or disturb a great crested newt, or obstruct, damage or destroy their breeding or resting place. This means the great crested newts and their habitat (terrestrial and aquatic), if they are present, is protected.
The great crested newt is a Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), now adopted as a Species of Principal Importance in England under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006.
A Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessment can be undertaken to determine the suitability of a water body (pond) for great crested newts. This assessment can be undertaken at any time of the year and can be incorporated into a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal.
Great crested newt presence / absence surveys are undertaken to determine whether or not this species is present in a water body and, if present, is followed by a population size assessment. This survey work can only be undertaken between mid-March – June, with at least two visits undertaken between mid-April and mid-May.
In 2014 Natural England adopted the use of eDNA as an effective method of surveying for the presence / absence of great crested newts following a report by DEFRA confirming the accuracy of the method.
We can use eDNA (Environmental DNA) sampling techniques to determine whether a waterbody supports great crested newts. This technique provides a fast way to provide presence or absence results.
If great crested newts are present, survey using the traditional techniques (bottle trapping and torch light) will be required to determine the size class of the population and inform mitigation.
If great crested newts are present within an area, and the proposed works may impact on this species, then it will likely be necessary to obtain a European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) Licence prior to the start of the works.
News / Blogs
January 2019: We have relaunched the Verity Webster Ltd website with some exciting new elements.... >>
February 2017: Verity Webster discusses conducting ecology surveys through the seasons... >>
December 2015: Verity Webster discusses badgers, badger setts and mitigation issues... >>
August 2015: Verity Webster discusses bats, buildings and bat surveys... >>
June 2015: Verity Webster discusses the Himalayan Balsam, a non-native Invasive Plant Species... >>