Ecological Planning & Research

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great crested newt surveys

What we can do for you:

Great Crested Newts are a European Protected Species that breeds in waterbodies such as ponds during the Spring, but which can make use of surrounding terrestrial habitat up to about 500m or so from these ponds during the remainder of the year.


EPR’s team of qualified and licensed ecologists has wide experience relating to Great Crested Newts including habitat evaluation, survey and population assessment.  We recommend addressing the potential presence of Great Crested Newts early on in a project, in order to avoid time-consuming and potentially costly delays.


Surveys for Great Crested Newts are usually carried out in the Spring when the animals are gathered in their breeding ponds. Following an initial Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) survey to determine how suitable the ponds are for this species, the techniques usually involve a specially licenced ecologist using a combination of netting, bottle trapping, egg searching and searching at night with torches.


Sometimes, when it is necessary to investigate how Great Crested Newts are using terrestrial habitat, more advanced survey methods including the use of drift fencing and pitfall trapping can be used. This requires a special licence to be granted by Natural England, and EPR has successfully undertaken this type of work.


More recently, a new survey technique has been developed called ‘’eDNA’’ surveying. This process involves taking water samples and testing them in a laboratory for the presence of Great Crested Newt DNA. This method is useful for swiftly establishing the presence or likely absence of Great Crested Newts,

Do you need practical professional advice on Great Crested Newt issues?


Do your plans for development include nearby water bodies where Great Crested Newts may be present?

and can be cost-effective particularly where it is necessary to survey a large number of ponds. However, the process is not without its constraints, as it does not provide information on the size of Great Crested Newt population, and can be affected by indeterminate results.


EPR is fully capable of undertaking all of the above surveys, and can advise on the most appropriate methods for your circumstances. We have designed mitigation and successfully obtained Natural England licences for many clients over the years, with projects including housing developments, mineral extraction and infrastructure works.


We aim to make obtaining a licence as easy as possible and to guide you through the process. Applying for a licence requires the preparation of a method statement detailing how and when the newts and their habitat will be affected and providing detailed mitigation proposals to show that their conservation status will be maintained. This mitigation may include (for example):

  • Creation of new ponds and terrestrial habitat;


  • Capture and translocation of newts from the development site (Feb – Oct);


  • Exclusion fencing to prevent newts re-entering the development site.

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