Amphibians

Great crested newt

Great crested newt

Great crested newts and natterjack toads are protected through strict EU legislation, and great crested newts require consideration whenever suitable waterbodies are present. We would normally conduct an appraisal of these waterbodies before advising whether further surveys are required. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling can be used in certain circumstances to determine presence or absence of species, but we also offer conventional survey techniques. EPS licencing may be required where individuals or populations of protected amphibians are at risk.

Common toad is a Species of Principal Importance under Section 41 of the NERC Act 2006 and requires consideration in development proposals. Very often, effects on this species can be mitigated by using best practice avoidance measures during construction.

Five members of the team are licenced by Natural England to survey for both of the UK’s European Protected Species; great crested newts and natterjack toads. WFE has worked on numerous projects throughout East Anglia, across the Midlands, Kent and Yorkshire, and have run EPS licences for both great crested newts and natterjack toads.

WFE has been involved in works to promote the conservation of great crested newts in Norfolk, such as our assessments of the populations at Alderford Common SSSI and Holt County Park.

Amphibian Services

  • Great crested newt Habitat Suitability Index (HSI)
  • Great crested newt presence/absence survey and population estimate
  • Natterjack toad survey
  • eDNA testing of waterbodies
  • European Protected Species (EPS) Licensing
  • Habitat creation and enhancement for amphibians
  • Advice on pond management
  • Mitigation work – installing exclusion fencing, and trapping out development sites
  • Post construction monitoring
Euston Estate

Newt fencing in place

Project Example – EPS licence

WFE obtained an EPS mitigation licence for great crested newt on behalf of the Euston Estate in Suffolk, to temporarily exclude newts during construction of a reservoir. Surveys were completed to established the presence of great crested newts on the site and surrounding area and assess pond suitability. This found newts were breeding in a pond within the footprint of the development and were in other adjacent ponds. Therefore mitigation was required, and the project was completed under an EPS licence. The works involved the erection of exclusion fencing, trapping of the site, draining of the pond within the footprint and translocation of any animals found to a suitable release site. To compensate for the loss of terrestrial newt habitat and the pond, two new ponds were dug, ponds and 6 hectares of land adjacent to the site were enhanced to improve connectivity for newts around the site.

Common toad and great crested newt

Project Example – Surveys

WFE worked on the subterranean cable route for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm (approximately 45km). This has largely been constructed. Work included HSI assessment, pre-planning and pre-construction surveys for the route and substation proposals. 

During the surveys WFE assessed around 251 ponds for great crested newt. These included garden, woodland, field, and roadside ponds as well as ditch networks. WFE staff were responsible for maintaining good relations with the various landowners along the route. This was done by ensuring that, where required, time was taken to explain the surveys and address landowner’s concerns.

Surveys were conducted in line with the Great Crested Newt Mitigation Guidelines and allowed for a successful mitigation strategy to be approved by Natural England.Having successfully surveyed the ponds, WFE was able to demonstrate that along the route there were 57 occupied ponds.