eDNA - Great Crested Newt Survey Technique

eDNA analysis is a new survey technique, approved by Natural England, for undertaking great crested newt surveys.

A new survey technique, eDNA analysis, has been approved by Natural England for undertaking great crested newt (GCN) surveys of ponds. It involves analysing water samples for the presence of GCN DNA and provides an alternative to conventional survey methods. Samples can be taken between mid April to the end of June, extending the annual survey period.


For some projects with long lead in times, eDNA is proving to be an efficient technique for confirming whether this species may pose a constraint to a development. For instance, on large sites just a single visit to each pond may be required to confirm whether newts are present. This can be very useful in determining constraints at the early planning stages of a development.


eDNA can also be used on shorter term projects. However if the results indicate the presence of GCN, eDNA has no way of confirming the number of GCN present. Therefore conventional survey methods are then still required to inform the estimation of population size for a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence application. This means completing 6 surveys before the end of the survey period in Mid-June, including 2 surveys between Mid-April and Mid-May. As the earliest eDNA can be used in the survey season is Mid-April, we feel this late start to the survey season using eDNA could be a risky approach.


If you have any queries relating to eDNA for your project, please give our team a call on 0114 2587819 and we would be happy to provide more details on the benefits and constraints of this technique

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