Bagshaw Ecology provide great crested newt surveys for planning and development, including walkover surveys, using the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI); presence/absence surveys, using bottle trapping egg searching and torch searching, and eDNA surveys.
Great crested newts are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. As such, they usually need to be considered for any proposed development which requires the removal of a pond, or that is within 500m of a pond.
Our experienced and licensed great crested newt ecologists are on hand to help with any of your requirements regarding great crested newts. For more information, or for a free quotation, please contact us.
A Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) comprises a walkover survey of the site, usually undertaken as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal, which involves an initial assessment of a pond. The pond is assessed using ten factors, including geographic location, water quality and adjacent habitat to determine the likelihood of great crested newts being present. This can then determine if great crested newts are likely to be affected by a proposed development, and if further presence/absence surveys are required.
Presence/Absence surveys for great crested newts involve a combination of methods, including bottle trapping, egg searching, and torch searching. A total of four visits are required between mid-March and mid-June, with at least half the surveys being within the optimum period of mid-April to mid-May. If great crested newts are found to be present, an additional two surveys are required to meet Natural England's criteria for a population size class assessment.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling is a fast and cost effective way to determine the presence or likely absence of great crested newts within a pond. Samples are taken of the pond between 15th April and the 30th June, which are then sent to a laboratory for testing. This then gives a result of either confirmed presence or likely absence. If great crested newts are found to be present using eDNA, further presence/absence surveys are usually required to determine the population size class assessment.