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Thomson Ecology HandbookGreat crested newt surveys

TEH Index

Part 1: Legal frameworks

Part 2: Planning policy and other guidance

Part 3: Development and features of biodiversity importance

Part 4: Surveys and assessment

Part 5: Mitigation and enhancement

Part 6: Practical techniques

Great crested newt surveys

(England, Wales and Scotland only)

Great crested newt surveys may be required if a development is likely to affect a freshwater pond or surrounding terrestrial habitat up to 500m from the pond. A two stage approach to surveying for great crested newts is employed. Firstly, the ponds within the survey area are assessed for their suitability to support breeding great crested newts. Secondly, all suitable ponds within the survey area are subject to a specific survey for great crested newts. For conventional presence/absence surveys, three survey techniques preferably (egg search, torchlight survey and bottle trapping) are used on 4 occasions.

A new technique for detecting great crested newts is now being used widely. It involves sampling the water for traces of newt DNA. Only one, daytime visit is required and it is a reliable way of determining whether newts are present. However, conventional techniques must be used if an indication of newt abundance is required.

Should a population size class estimate be required, then a further 2 survey visits would be necessary. Survey visits should be carried out between mid-March and mid-June, with at least two visits occurring between mid-April and mid-May for the presence/absence survey and at least three visits occurring between mid-April and mid-May for a population size class estimate. A licence is required to survey for this species using most standard techniques.

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Great crested newt surveys