The Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus is a European Protected Species (EPS). As such is strictly protected under the EU Habitats Directive, as transposed into UK law by The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Regulations, 1994 (‘The Habitats Regulations”), or The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 .
SNH, or Natural England, may grant a licence to permit a development to go ahead on a site supporting GCN, but only under strictly-defined circumstances.
The presence of unpolluted ponds on any proposed development site within 10km of a known GCN colony is likely to trigger a request from SNH (or Natural England) to conduct a habitat suitability index (HSI) appraisal for the species. If the HSI appraisal reveals that ponds are likely to be suitable for the species, there is then usually a requirement for a standard set of surveys to establish the presence or likely absence of the species.
If these surveys indicate that the GCN is likely to be absent, then the species will present no obstacle to development proposals. If the species is present however, then the survey information gathered represents one crucial element in any application for a European Protected Species development licence.
Great Crested Newts spend most of the year on land but enter ponds to breed between March and June. Surveys are normally carried out at the breeding ponds during this aquatic phase. Due to their European Protected Species status however, a licence is even needed to search for the species.
Clyde Ecology has considerable expertise of undertaking of GCN surveys, in accordance with the guidelines advocated by SNH and NE. Indeed, our GCN surveyors are among the most experienced in Scotland, having undertaken work in connection with renewable energy, mineral extraction and construction developments, as well as for national surveys and personal projects.