ecological consultancy

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Great Crested Newt Surveys, Mitigation & Licensing

jh ecology undertakes great crested newt surveys primarily in the South-west including: Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire; but we also carry out great crested newt surveys across the South-east including: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, London, Oxfordshire, Surrey and Sussex; and the Midlands including: Birmingham, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire. We produce great crested newt survey reports to accompany planning applications and design great crested newt mitigation measures to satisfy planning authorities and prepare great crested newt mitigation licence applications for submission to the statutory nature conservation organisations.

Great Crested Newt Survey

Great crested newt

Great crested newts are found in both rural and urban habitats. They can be found in a variety of water-bodies including ponds, ditches and drainage channels; although they will spend most of their year on land, including grassland, scrub, hedgerow and woodland habitats, finding shelter beneath logs, stones, piles of rubble / vegetation and loose ground.

Great crested newts and their habitat are afforded full protection under UK and European legislation, including The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981 (as amended). This makes it an offence to: kill, injure or disturb great crested newts and to destroy any place used for rest or shelter by a newt.

Great Crested Newt Surveys

By engaging jh ecology at the early design stage of a project, we help clients identify situations where the presence of great crested newts requires consideration and help avoid delays and additional expense to the project.

jh ecology’s great crested newt capability includes the following standard survey techniques:

  • Initial site appraisal using Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessment as an aid to identify the need for further surveys.
  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling / survey of water-bodies which gives a quick great crested newt presence / absence result from a water sample (collected following a specific protocol by a licensed great crested newt ecologist).
  • Presence / absence surveys and population size class assessments of water-bodies following English Nature’s (now Natural England) ‘Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines’ (i.e. bottle trapping, torching, netting and searching of refugia).

Please refer to our Ecological Survey Calendar for seasonal constraints to undertaking great crested newt surveys.

Great Crested Newt Pond Survey

Great crested newt bottle trapping survey of pond

Great Crested Newt Mitigation & Licensing

If a development activity is likely to result in disturbance, harm or killing of a great crested newt; damage or destruction to its habitat etc., then a European Protected Species mitigation licence (EPSML) will usually be required from the relevant statutory body (e.g. Natural England) to allow the development to proceed legally. To obtain an EPSML, detailed mitigation will need to be designed to reduce the chances of harming great crested newts and to ensure provision for the species subsequent to works being carried out.

jh ecology is experienced in preparing and advising clients on great crested newt licence applications, as well as designing and undertaking a variety of mitigation and translocation strategies. Where the project requires we can offer the following services:

  • Legal compliance advice, including preparation of licence applications.
  • Design and supervision of the installation of amphibian exclusion and drift fencing, and amphibian pitfall traps.
  • Pitfall trap and refuge checking.
  • Identification of suitable receptor sites and great crested newt translocation. Please note that this process can take several weeks to complete, to ensure that great crested newts are removed from a site. Translocation of animals away from a site is only undertaken as a last resort when animals cannot be accommodated within the project design.
  • Design and supervision of habitat creation and restoration measures, including great crested newt ponds and terrestrial habitat such as log piles and hibernacula.
  • Hand searches of great crested newt terrestrial habitat, ‘tool-box’ talks to site contractors and ecological clerk of works (i.e. ECoW).
  • Post-mitigation monitoring.

Please contact us on or 01823 530 084 for further advice or help.