Great Crested Newts
The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is the UK’s largest newt species and is easily distinguishable from the two other native newt species by size and colouring. Their skin is granular in appearance and black or dark brown in colour and they have an orange and black-spotted belly. Males can be distinguished from females by their large jagged crests present during the breeding season as well as a white tail stripe all year round. They spend much of the year on land but visit ponds and other waterbodies to breed.
Great Crested Newt Protection
Great crested newts (GCNs) are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. It is illegal to injure, kill, capture or disturb GCNs, and their habitats are protected against damage and destruction of a resting or breeding place. GCNs are protected under schedule 5 of the WCA 1981 (as amended). This means they are protected from intentional or reckless disturbance, intentional or reckless obstruction of access to any place of shelter or protection; and/or, selling, offering or exposing for sale, possession or transporting for purpose of sale.
Furthermore, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC) lists the Great Crested Newt (GCN) as a species of principle importance under Section 41. Section 40 requires every public body in the exercising of its functions (in relation Section 41 species) to ‘have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’; therefore, making Great Crested Newts a material consideration in the planning process and requiring a detailed ecological survey before planning permission can be granted.
Great Crested Newt Habitat Surveys
Great Crested Newt survey can be undertaken in the following ways:
Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) – this is a tool which assesses the suitability of a pond for GCNs dependent on a variety of factors, such as pond size, terrestrial habitat, water quality etc. This method can be used to identify the likelihood of a pond supporting Great Crested Newts. This is not a definitive survey and the results of an HSI can determine whether or not further surveys are recommended.
Pond surveys can be undertaken to survey for eggs, efts or adult GCNs. The surveys are restricted to mid-March – mid-June with at least two surveys between mid-April – mid-May (Visit our Survey Calendar for suitable times for your survey to be conducted).
In addition to the traditional methods above, environmental DNA (eDNA) surveys can also be undertaken. Surveys which involve taking water samples need to be gathered between 15 April and 30 June.
Great Crested Newt Survey Method Types
The following methods are used by a licensed Great Crested Newt surveyor:
- Egg searching
- Bottle trapping
- DNA surveys where water samples are taken and analysed for environmental DNA of GCNs
If GCNs are found, then a mitigation strategy may well be required depending on the nature and extent of proposed works. For the installation of mitigation fencing and translocation services, please contact us.
Find out more about our wildlife movement and ecological mitigation services. We will be more than happy to help.
Great Crested Newt Survey Licence
If works require a licence from Natural England (for example loss of a breeding pond or loss of suitable terrestrial habitat) then The Ecology Partnership can write and apply for a licence on the client’s behalf. The Ecology Partnership has licensed GCN workers who are experience with numerous licensed sites and Natural England requirements.
For more about Great Crested Newt Surveys visit also:
For more protected species survey services click here.
To discuss great crested newt surveys or mitigation strategies, please email us or call us on 01372 364 133 or use our enquiry form below.