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Great Crested Newts

Great crested newts are protected by EU and UK nature conservation legislation called the Conservation of Species and Habitat Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). These legislative instruments make it an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or capture any great crested newt or native wild reptile in the UK. Places of shelter are also protected from disturbance, as well as damage, destruction or obstruction. Great crested newts occupy habitats of scrub, unmanaged grassland, woodlands and hedgerows from mid-June to mid-March and GCN will use waterbodies such as ponds and ditches for breeding between mid-March and mid-June. Great crested newts are declining nationally and negatively impacted by development. Great crested newts should be considered during a planning application and construction works.

What can affect great crested newt populations?                

                          

  • Removal of grassland

  • Removal of trees or hedgerows

  • Removal of scrub vegetation

  • Change of use of a site

  • Development of roads

 

What needs to be done?

  • Preliminary Ecological Appraisal and Habitat Suitability Index – This initial survey confirms the potential of a site’s terrestrial habitat and ponds to be utilised by great crested newt and decide if further surveys are required.

  • Great crested newt surveys -These surveys will establish the presence or likely absence of great crested newts for ponds or terrestrial habitats situated within the site boundary or surrounding landscape.

  • Mitigation – Ensures a project conserves and protects a great crested newt population from disturbance, injury or mortality.

  • European Protected Species Licence- A license is obtained from Natural England to demonstrate that impacts to great crested newts are fully protected, mitigated and compensated for.

 

Habitat Suitability Index

 

If enims are conducting an appraisal of ecological features on-site we will, where possible and practical, undertake a great crested newt habitat suitability index to score the suitablility of ponds or waterbodys which may support great crested newts.

A recommendation of great crested newt surveys may be made by an ecologist or upon an assessment of the likelihood that GCN could be present on a site.

 

eDNA Surveys

 

If there is suspected great crested newt presence within a waterbody then specific eDNA surveys can be undertaken, which involves taking samples to be sent away for analysis with the results identifying the likelihood of GCN presence/absence.

 

GCN Population Surveys

 

enims Ltd will undertake pond surveys between March and mid-June. enims's suitably qualified ecologists will access a pond to search for great crested newt; eggs and individuals using bottle traps, netting and torching to identify the numbers, age and sex of GCN present.  These pond surveys are carried out in accordance with Great Crested Newt mitigation guidelines published by Natural England (available online at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140605121141/http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/810429?category=30014). Analysis of the survey results is undertaken to provide recommendations on comprehensive mitigation and enhancements.

 

Mitigation Strategy

 

enims Ltd are experienced in producing mitigation strategies that are vital to identify the mitigation requirements for any impact to GCN species from the proposed development and will assist in the application for a licence from Natural England.

 

Great Crested Newt Watching Brief

 

Mitigation may also propose that all works are carried out under ecological supervision by a suitably qualified ecologist for the construction stages of the works.

 

European Protected Species Licence

The EPSM license for great crested newts will be obtained from Natural England by producing an application form, a Reasoned Statement and a Method Statement which will set out the means of impact avoidance, mitigation and compensation with respect to great crested newts.

 

Translocation

enims have experience of translocating great crested newts to suitable habitats. A translocation project of great crested newts requires the deployment of drift fencing, pitfall traps for any GCN or amphibians to be caught and translocated into suitable receptor area.  enims can set up GCN translocations and provide licened ecologists for handling great crested newts. A translocation of a great crested newt populations require new suitable habitat and hibernaculum to be created.

If you require support for your project please call the enims team on 0845 644 0196.