Protected species

Great crested newt surveys

Great crested newts are protected under UK and European legislation and any potential development impacts to this species are subject to a European Protected Species licensing process.

Our ecologists hold Natural England licences to survey great crested newts and our team has a wealth of experience with this species. The requirements for EPS licencing are stringent and applications are increasingly complex – by using CSA you can be confident you are employing ecologists with a proven track record in obtaining these licences and the expertise to navigate this process as smoothly as possible.

The process starts where development is proposed within 500m of any suitable aquatic habitat which could be used by great crested newts. An initial assessment of habitat suitability and connectivity is required to guide the approach to more detailed investigations.

Conventional great crested newt survey work typically involves, amongst other techniques, trapping of newts within ponds. The surveys must therefore be undertaken when newts are focused on their breeding ponds, creating a survey window from mid-March to mid-June. Presence or absence is determined by a four visit survey during this period, but a population estimate requires a total of six visits and will be expected to inform a licence application.

The relatively new Environmental DNA (eDNA) technique allows presence/absence to be determined using a water sample taken between mid-April and the end of June. This is cost-effective, but is not sufficient to apply for a licence, so the decision on when to apply this approach must be considered carefully. Our ecologists will talk you through the pros and cons.

Other protected species surveys

Water vole & otter

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Great crested newt

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The quality of CSA’s work – their documentation, consultation and collaboration with the design team, statutory authorities and clients – is first class.”

Chris Cunningham, Harrison Sutton Partnership