Great Crested Newt Surveys

Did you know that the Great Crested Newt is a protected species and interfering with them or their habitats can leave to severe punishments under UK and EU law? The fact that you’ve found yourself on this page suggests you probably do…

One of only six amphibious species specific to these islands, Great Crested Newts should be a major consideration to all developers, civils and railway engineering firms operating in the vicinity of ponds or other water bodies. It’s amazing quite how much of a detrimental effect such a small creature can have upon a major project when the proper steps have not been taken to mitigate the risk.

With the passing of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) it is punishable by law for anyone to capture, kill, injure or disturb great crested newts in any way. Be that damaging their habitats or physically interfering with individual newts, developments that come into contact with these animals are strictly controlled and can only go forward once a suitable license has been awarded.

As a result, it is becoming an increasingly common condition of planning permission that appropriate great crested newt surveys be carried out to either confirm or disprove the presence of great crested newts in the area and to assess the potential impact of your proposed development upon them. It cannot be stressed enough that carrying out a great crested newt survey is not something that should be left until long down your project’s planning stage.

Firstly, whilst general habitat surveys can and should be carried out at any time of the year, due to their particular breeding patterns certain other types of great crested newt surveys can only take place from the middle of March until the middle of June. If you leave it until after this to approach an ecology survey firm you will be too late and, by law, will have to wait until the following March before carrying out the survey. Can you afford to have your project on hold for those seven months?

Secondly, an initial great crested newt survey (or habitat survey) is no guarantee of being awarded planning. However thorough your ecologist might be the specifics of your case might make it necessary to carry out further, in-depth great crested newt surveys to provide yet more information to your Local Planning Authority.

Thirdly, Local Planning Authorities are not allowed to judge any planning applications before they have all the relevant survey information in their possession.

Fourthly, by carrying out a general habitat survey before planning conditions have been stipulated, you can assess the potential impact of great crested newts on your development and can approach the Local Planning Authority forearmed and forewarned. This is most likely something that the LPA will request anyway should your project be in an area of concern. Having this information to hand at the start of the process allows many developers’ projects to proceed far more smoothly.

Want to know more about great crested newt surveys? Why not call our office on 0151 726 8334 and one of our team will be happy to help.


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