Did you know that Great Crested Newts are heavily protected [1] and that if convicted you can be fined up to £5,000 per newt (a pond may support hundreds of newts!), imprisoned for up to six months and vehicles, plant and machinery seized that are involved in committing the offence. Wildlife crime forensics are increasingly being used to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt when wildlife crimes have been committed.

One such example is provided by a Yorkshire-based developer who was fined £11,500 plus costs after pleading guilty to carrying out works which resulted in damage to a population of Great Crested Newts at a holiday park.

Male great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)Read on to find out how by using an appropriately qualified, experienced and licenced ecologist you can ensure that your project and proposed activities are fully compliant with wildlife legislation, thus avoiding the risks of prosecution outlined above as well as costly delays due to non-compliance with planning policy.

Do You Need To Commission A Great Crested Newt Survey?

Do you or your Clients have any of the following:

  • Development sites containing ponds or ditches; and/or
  • Development sites supporting habitats such as rough grassland, scrub, and woodland that could be affected by development and that are located within 500 metres of ponds or ditches (these features could be outside the site boundary).

Alternatively, have you been advised by an ecologist, Planning Officer, Natural England or other consultee that you need to undertake a Great Crested Newt survey, perform a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) calculation or a Rapid Risk Assessment (RRA) for a development?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, you need to obtain the advice of an appropriately licenced and experienced ecologist NOW in order that you don’t miss the narrow survey window for Great Crested Newts. Five Valleys Ecology can support you and your business with professional Great Crested Newt surveys and reports for planning applications and for legal compliance.

If your business requires a Great Crested Newt survey then make sure you don’t miss this opportunity – you could have to wait for another year! Further information on Great Crested Newt surveys can be found by clicking here

Why Use Five Valleys Ecology

We provide a ‘one stop shop’ for professional ecological advice. We can provide a fully managed service taking complete care of your project from pre-development to post-development leaving you to focus your valuable time and energy on other matters (see What Our Clients Say below).

Five Valleys Ecology can also ensure that costly delays and the risk of offences being committed and prosecution are avoided by ensuring that you and your project are fully compliant with wildlife legislation and planning policy.

As a ‘green’ company, we can also bring additional value to projects for Clients who are actively engaged in sustainable procurement and management of the environmental performance of their supply chain.

Further benefits of using Five Valleys Ecology are:

  • Professional, highly experienced and knowledgeable surveyors;
  • Great Crested Newt survey licence holders;
  • All work is fully compliant with the latest Best Practice guidance;
  • Quality detailed reports produced within realistic timescales;
  • Big enough company to deliver, but small enough to care;
  • Personal service;
  • Clients kept informed throughout the process; and
  • Effective liaison with Planning Authorities, Natural England and other key consultees.

What Do You Need To Do Now!

Don’t forget – there is only a short window of time for Great Crested Newt surveys to be carried out and it starts NOW! Don’t delay – it could cost you and your Client in the long run!

Call Tim Smith on 01453 759306 (M:07732 397984) or email us to arrange a free no-obligation consultation to discuss your site and requirements in more detail.

[1] GCNs are protected under both UK law; The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) (as amended), and European law (The Habitats Directive); which is transposed into law in England and Wales by The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) (‘Habitats Regulations’). Great Crested Newts are also protected under various national, regional and local planning policies together with national and local Biodiversity Action Plans (BAPs).