- Licensed surveyors
- Competitive pricing
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Our ecologists are fully licensed to undertake your great crested newt surveys.
Habitat Suitability Index
A daytime survey of ponds to assess their suitability for great crested newts.
Presence / Likely Absence Surveys
Surveys of suitable ponds to find out if great crested newts are present.
Environmental DNA (eDNA)
We take a water sample and send this for analysis to confirm whether great crested newts are present in ponds.
We can apply for a European Protected Species (EPS) mitigation licence for you.
* Excluding VAT. Guideline prices are for a small, local site. Actual costs are based on various factors including site size and travel distance, get a free quote.
Not sure exactly what you require? Our experienced ecologists will provide free, no obligation advice, just ask.
Why great crested newt surveys are needed
Great crested newts are a European Protected Species and are legally protected. The newts themselves, their eggs and habitats are all protected.
If your proposed works could injure or kill a newt, or damage their habitat you may be in breach of the legislation. Therefore, if the works are likely to impact upon a pond or suitable terrestrial habitat (e.g. grassland, scrub, woodland) surveys may be required to ensure that the law is not broken and inform a successful planning application.
The survey process
Great crested newt surveys begin with an assessment of the suitability of ponds near to a development for supporting great crested newts, known as a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessment. The next stage is to survey the ponds to check if great crested newts are present or likely absent, this can be done using traditional survey methods (bottle trapping, netting, torch surveys and egg searches) or by analysing a sample of pond water to see if great crested newt DNA is present (Environmental DNA). If great crested newts are found to be present then further surveys are required using traditional survey methods to determine the population size.
Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) assessments
This is the first stage in the process. It involves a daytime survey of ponds close to a development (usually within 250 – 500 m) to assess their suitability for great crested newts against ten criteria (e.g. size, permanence, water quality). A HSI assessment is not a substitute for presence/likely absence surveys which are usually required if there is potential for a development to impact great crested newts (e.g. loss of a pond or suitable terrestrial habitat). HSI assessments are best undertaken between March and September.
Environmental DNA (eDNA)
eDNA water sampling can be carried out between the 15th April and 30th June. We simply visit the pond to take a water sample which is then sent off for laboratory testing to find out if great crested newt DNA is present. If the result is negative then no further surveys are required. If the result is positive, then presence/likely absence surveys are required to estimate the population size.
Presence/likely absence surveys
This involves four surveys of the ponds being undertaken between March and June, with at least two to three of the surveys undertaken between mid-April and mid-May. There are four survey methods; bottle trapping, netting, torch surveys and egg searches, at least three of these methods must be undertaken at each pond. Bottle trapping involves setting traps in ponds at dusk and then checking these for great crested newts at dawn. Netting follows a standard survey methodology using nets to catch great crested newts. Torch surveys involve a surveyor visiting the pond when it’s dark and shining a high-powered torch on the water, great crested newts can easily be distinguished from other newt species by their size and the white tail flash of male great crested newts. Egg searches are undertaken during the daytime, where a surveyor will check vegetation in the pond for great crested newt eggs which are distinguishable from the eggs of other newt species.
If great crested newts are found to be present then a further two surveys may be required to estimate the population size.
The next steps
If surveys find that great crested newts are present we will work closely with you to design practical mitigation to ensure your project complies with wildlife law and that your planning application is successful.
European Protected Species (EPS) licence
If impacts to great crested newts cannot be completely avoided it may be necessary to apply for a EPS mitigation licence from the relevant Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage). These licences permit works affecting great crested newts that would otherwise be illegal, and can be applied for after planning permission has been granted. We are experienced in preparing and applying for these licences.