Great Crested Newt Surveys
Like all UK amphibians, great crested newts (sometimes abbreviated to GCN) rely on water bodies for breeding, but spend the majority of their lives on land. Therefore, even if there are no ponds on your proposed development site, there still could be potential for supporting GCNs.
View our Ecology Survey Calendar to plan your Great Crested Newt surveys
Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) Survey
The Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) is a system that was developed for assessing a water body’s potential to support breeding Great Crested Newts (GCN). If your site has potential for great crested newts, i.e terrestrial and/or aquatic habitat, all ponds within 500m of the site will be assessed for their suitability. This survey can be undertaken at any time of the year.
Presence/Absence Surveys and Population Estimate Surveys:
Ponds within 500m of the development site, without an effective barrier to dispersal between the pond and the development site and a HSI score >0.5, are visited on four separate occasions between mid-March and mid-June to find out if GCN are present/absent. If GCN are discovered, two further surveys per pond are undertaken to estimate the population size and inform a Mitigation Plan.
An alternative to presence/absence surveys is eDNA. Only one survey is required to prove absence, so in some circumstances, it has the potential to reduce the number of surveys needed, and therefore cost. It also allows for the testing of GCN absence from mid-May to late June.
Great Crested Newt Survey Timeline:
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