Great Crested newts are a European protected species and it is an offence to capture,kill or disturb them or damage or destroy habitats which they use for shelter or breeding

The main survey period for great crested newts runs from mid March to mid June. if you haven’t got surveys programmed in yet, we’d strongly recommend you make arrangements as soon as possible. It’s the time of that ecologists get booked up quickly and you don’t want to run out of time and risk a delay of up to a year to get your project moving. Traditional surveys are temperature dependant and require a minimum of 5°c for newts to be active and thus survey results to be reliable. if the temperature isn’t high enough, the start date may need to be pushed back, which can risk the integrity of the overall survey in some cases. Four survey visits, with at least two visits carried out in peak season(usually mid-April to mid-May) have to be carried out to establish presence or likely absence within a pond. if great crested newts are found, then a further two survey visits have to be carried out to determine a population size class assessment of the pond. These surveys need to be spread as evenly as possible during the survey period in order to inform any licensing requirements.If the survey visits are poorly timed, there is a risk that a Natural England license application may be prejudiced. Planning ahead is therefore strongly advised to allow sufficient time to complete the surveys and avoid delays to the development. In some cases, Environmental DNA(eDNA) testing is feasible and can result in reduced costs and delays,however each site needs to be considered on its own merits and eDNA testing has its own pros and cons. If you want to discuss any issues over great crested newts, whether in relation to surveys or eDNA possibilities , feel free to give one of our ecologists a call

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For more information on Crested newts , or to discuss a specific project, contact our office on 0845 463 4404.

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Facts about Crested Newts

  • Individual Great Crested Newts can be identified by looking at their bellies, as the pattern of black spots they each sport is as individual as a fingerprint.

  • Though it is called the great crested newt, only the males actually have crests. The crests are most prominent during the mating season.

  • Great Crested Newts is one of four amphibians protected by the UK biodiversity action plan. The other three are the Common Toad, the Natterjack Toad and the Pool Frog.

  • Great Crested Newts can reach up to 17cm and are the largest and least common newt species in the UK.