The Great Crested Newt (GCN) is an amphibian species that is protected by strict legislation. It is classified as one of the most declining amphibian species in Europe. However they are still widespread and fairly common in the UK; often turning up on the seemingly ecologically devoid development sites. The presence of GCN on a proposed development site can have significant implications to development plans, project timings (due to restricted survey seasons) and costs. Identifying the presence of GCN early in the developmental stage is fundamental to ensuring potential constraints are identified and remediated in order to achieve a smooth route through the planning process.
Guided by Natural England, the Local Planning Authority will request that an assessment for GCN is undertaken on all sites with ponds or sites with suitable terrestrial habitats that have connectivity to ponds in the local area – up to 500m away. Furthermore, these assessments need to be undertaken by a licenced surveyor. The survey season starts in mid-March and ends in mid-June; however, at least four surveys are required and half of these have to be undertaken between mid-April and mid-May.
So if you have a site which may need to be surveyed for GCN, you need to book your survey with REC now to ensure you don’t miss the window and have to wait until next year!
The same applies to other European species; each species has its own restricted window of opportunity for survey. REC Ltd has recently expanded its ecology team around the country, allowing us to provide the following services nationally at a competitive local price:
- Ecological Survey (Phase I & II), Assessment and Interpretation
- Environmental / Ecological Impact Assessment
- BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes
- Mitigation Schemes
- Habitat Management Plans
- Biodiversity Enhancement
- Protected Species, Surveys and Development License Applications
- Ecological Clerk of Works
- Invasive Species Action Plans and Remediation Strategy
- Habitat Creation, Restoration and Translocation
All REC Ecologists are members of the Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) providing an indication of competence, qualification and commitment to continual professional development.