If great crested newts are discovered on a site once a development is under way, all work must cease immediately and an ecologist employed to determine an appropriate course of action and to liase with the licensing authority. Works may have to be delayed until mitigation can be undertaken at the appropriate time of year.
Robust surveys carried out in the planning stages of your project will save you time and money.
Contact us for advice in relation to your project
Great Crested Newt
Great crested newts are distributed all across the UK but are uncommon. Great crested newts (GCN) can be found breeding in ponds during the spring and summer time and also in a variety of terrestrial habitats throughout the rest of the year.
Great crested newts are our largest species of newt, they are also our most threatened. GCN are much larger than the other native newt species (Smooth newt and Palmate newt), they can grow up to 15cm in length and are much bulkier. GCN have black or brown skin which is rough and has tiny white spots. The underside of great crested newts is bright orange and has black spots; this belly pattern is individual to each newt and can be used in the same way as a fingerprint to gain data on individual newts. Male GCN develop an impressive crest along their back and a silver streak along the middle of the tail during the spring and summer which they use to attract females during the breeding season. Female newts are generally longer than males and have an orange line on the underside of the tail.
There has been a sharp decline in the number of great crested newts over the last century some of the main threats to the species are:
• The loss of suitable breeding ponds through development and neglect
• Many ponds have been stocked with fish which predate both GCN eggs and larvae
• intensification of agriculture has led to a loss terrestrial of habitat
• loss of connectivity features such as hedgerows and woodlands
Identifying areas which have the potential to support GCN in the planning stages of your development will save you time and money in the long run. Fines of up to £5000 per newt and a custodial sentence of up to six months can be imposed for killing or disturbing great crested newts or destroying their habitat. Any work which could affect great crested newts or their habitat must be carried out under a European Protected Species licence issued by Natural England.