Great Crested Newt Surveys
We can provide the whole range of great crested newt surveys across the UK, and have vast project experience on a commercial and domestic scale. We are experienced in obtaining and implementing Natural England licences for works affecting this species.
Contact us to discuss your project.
- 1. Services Required
- 2. Background Information
- 3. HSI Risk Assessment
- 4. Aquatic Survey
- 5. Terrestrial survey
- 6. Mitigation and Licencing
When applying for planning permission for a project that is within 250m of a pond, a presence/absence survey may be required before planning can be approved. We will produce a report of our findings which is suitable for submission to the local planning authority.
We can provide the whole range of great crested surveys across the UK, and have vast project experience, including presence/absence surveys on commercial and domestic scale and obtaining and implementing Natural England licence.
Our clients include individual householders , construction companies and local authorities. We employ highly skilled and motivated staff utilising the latest technology to provide cost effective results meeting industry standards.
Access Ecology carry out newt surveys and mitigation using the latest equipment across the UK. Access Ecology employ highly experienced, licenced ecologists who have developed good relationships with local councils.
Britain has seven naturally occurring species of amphibian: the Smooth Newt, Palmate Newt, Common Toad and Common Frog and the fully protected Great Crested Newt, Pool Frog and Natterjack Toad. All amphibian species are afforded some level of legal protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) making it an offence to kill, injure, or sell these animals. GCN are specially protected on account of the international importance of their relatively high British population, whilst Natterjack Toad is specially protected on account of being one of our rarest amphibians. The Pool Frog is England’s rarest amphibian; it was presumed extinct in Britain during the 1990s and there is currently a reintroduced population near Thetford. These three amphibian species are also listed as European Protected Species on Regulation 41 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, making it an offence to take or possess, intentionally or recklessly to disturb or destroy an occupied place of shelter.
As a response to the Rio summit (1992), the UK government launched the UK Biodiversity Action Plans (UK BAP) in 1994 as a means of targeting threatened species. Member states are committed to applying Species Action Plans under the BAP scheme. GCN, Natterjack Toad, Pool Frog and Common Toad are included in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
The Habitat Suitability Index is a survey format that enables an effective assessment of ponds for breeding Great Crested Newt. Whilst it is not infallible it can allow surveyors to more effectively target breeding surveys.
HSI surveys focus particularly on the aquatic vegetation and invertebrate groupings within a pond and this factor limits the effective time period for surveys. Surveys can be conducted from March – October with the most effective period between April and June.
Breeding surveys for Great Crested Newts can only be carried out between March and June. The Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines (English Nature, 2001) state that in order to prove absence in a pond a minimum of four survey visits must be carried out during the period March – June with at least two visits during mid April – mid May. If GCN are found an additional two survey visits must be carried out (total 6) with at least one of them in mid April – mid May. Surveys can be carried out using the following methodologies:
- Bottle trapping
- Hand search
- Pond dipping
- Torch survey
- Egg search
The methodology chosen will depend on the type and composition of the pond and in most cases a combination of some or all of the survey techniques will be used.
Terrestrial surveys for GCN can be carried out, however these are generally complex and as a result would have to dealt with on a site by site basis. For further information please feel free to contact us.
Any project where Great Crested Newt (GCN) or potential for GCN is found will require a suitable mitigation plan to avoid any adverse affects of the population. Depending on the level of impact of the proposed works this may vary from a simple method statement to a full Natural England Licence. Access Ecology has a number of Licenced and experienced staff who have compiled and managed successful licence applications for a range of differing development (and non-development) situations. As a result we are able to offer advice and expertise on all stages of the mitigation process.
We are also able to offer advice on the enhancement of sites for GCN and other amphibians, this is becoming particularly important with Local Planning Authorities. Guidance for Public Authorities on Implementing the Biodiversity Duty (Defra, 2006) states,
“It is important that public authorities seek not only to protect important habitats and species, but actively seek opportunities to enhance biodiversity through development proposals, where appropriate. Incorporating enhancement opportunities into projects may help applicants to achieve planning permission”
|Habitat Suitability Index|
|Trapping for Winter Work|