Great Crested Newts are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. This makes it an offence, amongst other things to: i) deliberately capture, kill or injure Great Crested Newts; ii) damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place used by Great Crested Newts; iii) deliberately disturb Great Crested Newts in a way that is likely to impair their ability to migrate, hibernate, survive or reproduce, or in a way that is likely to affect significantly their local distribution or abundance; iv) intentionally or recklessly disturb Great Crested Newts while they are occupying a place of shelter or protection, or attempt to do so; v) intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to any place of shelter or protection, or attempt to do so.
An initial survey visit carried out by experienced EECOS staff will evaluate the likelihood of Great Crested Newts being present on the site, using the Habitat Suitability Index that has been developed to assess the quality of ponds for this species. This will be applied to any ponds or other water bodies suitable for breeding Great Crested Newts, either on the site or near to it. This is included in our standard Preliminary Ecological Appraisal or can be completed as a stand-alone survey.
Where there are suitable ponds that are ecologically connected to the site, we will recommend a survey, but only if the proposals are likely to result in an offence necessitating a European Protected Species licence application. We will first work with you to try and develop a method statement that will avoid any impacts and so avoid the need for a licence.
Great Crested Newt survey methodologies are specified in guidelines produced by Natural England and involve night time torchlight surveys, egg searching and bottle trapping, all carried out under a licence. The surveys have to be repeated at least four times, between March and June, with half of the visits during the period mid-April to mid-May, during which time breeding activity is typically at its peak. If Great Crested Newts are shown to be present then a further two visits will be needed in order to provide the information needed to be able to apply for a licence.
EECOS can guide your application for a licence, developing a mitigation scheme that is proportionate to the impacts and that will be acceptable to Natural England. We can then manage the mitigation process, from barrier fencing and habitat creation to translocation, if absolutely necessary.
If you require a quote please send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org including a brief description of what is proposed, timescales, site plans and any correspondence received from the Local Planning Authority. Alternatively you can contact us in the office on 01621 862986. We can carry out Great Crested Newt surveys in Essex and surrounding counties, including Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and London.