Newts and your development
Habitat Suitability Index for great crested newt scoping surveys
Planning applications for developments with ponds on site, or within 500 meters of the area to be developed, will usually trigger the requirement for a great crested newt scoping survey using the Habitat Suitability Index.
These daytime scoping surveys can be conducted all year round but optimally should be carried out between March and September, during the survey we score the ponds and surrounding habitat on a number of criteria to determine the likelihood of occupation by great crested newts. If conducted during peak season we will usually incorporate a brief search for eggs, larvae, & aquatic adults during the scoping survey, if conducted during the late season we will usually check beneath suitable refuges for terrestrial adults and young.
Presence / likely absence & eDNA
If the initial scoping survey finds the ponds and terrestrial habitat suitable then further surveys will be required to ascertain the presence or likely absence of great crested newts.
Traditional presence / likely absence surveys of ponds require a series of up-to four visits during suitable weather conditions between mid-March and mid-June with at least two visits in the peak season of mid-April to mid-May, during each visit a minimum of three survey techniques (egg search, torch light search, bottle trapping, & hand netting) will be used to try and determine the presence of great crested newts.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) provides a quick and simple alternative to the traditional presence / likely absence surveys requiring only one daytime site visit between 15 April and 30 June to collect water samples that are sent to a laboratory for quantitative polymerase chain reaction testing.
Population size class estimates
If great crested newts are identified as being present on or near the site a series of six surveys (may include the initial four presence / likely absence surveys) will be required between mid-March and mid-June with at least three visits during the peak season of mid-April to mid-May. During these visits torch light surveys and bottle trapping will be used to count the number of adult newts present in order to estimate whether the population is small, medium or large.
Licence applications, mitigation & compensation
If your site or nearby ponds are found to support great crested newts we will assess the likely impacts of your development and advise accordingly on how the impacts can be minimised, what suitable mitigation and compensation techniques can be used, and if required help you to attain a European Protected Species Mitigation Licence from Natural England to permit your development to take place.
Throughout the whole process you will get the personal service of dealing directly with local herpetologist and licenced great crested newt worker Andrew Tillson-Willis to ensure that your project runs as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Contact us today to book your initial Habitat Suitability Index for Great Crested Newt scoping survey
We can help with all of your newt survey requirements get in touch for your free quotation
- Habitat Suitability Index (GCN HSI) scoping surveys.
- Presence / likely absence surveys.
- Environmental DNA (eDNA) presence / likely absence surveys.
- Population size class estimates.
- District Level Licencing (DLL) applications.
- Avoidance, mitigation & compensation strategies.
- European Protected Species Mitigation Licence (EPSML) applications.
- Reasonable Avoidance Measures Method Statements (RAMMS).
- Newt fencing installation.
- Destructive searches.
- Population depletion assessment.
- Habitat creation and management.
- Mitigation design and installation.
- Pond design & creation.
- Terrestrial habitat creation.
- Hibernacula design & creation.
- Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW).
- Population monitoring.
- Population estimates using capture mark recapture.