Don't miss the great crested newt survey window - Mid-April to mid-May
We're now at the peak time for conducting great crested newt surveys. If your planning proposal meets the trigger for requiring a survey please don't miss the survey window, as this information is required prior to a planning decision being made.
Any ponds within 500m of a major planning application (over nine houses, or more than 0.5 hectares, or for non-residential developments of more than 1000m2 floor area or more than 1 hectare), or within 250m of a minor planning application, should be assessed in terms of broad suitability for great crested newts by carrying out a habitat suitability index assessment (HSI).
If a pond is found to be suitable it may be necessary to carry out a presence/absence survey for great crested newts, which is made up of four survey visits between mid-March and mid-June, with at least two visits between mid-April and mid-May. Three survey methods (preferably torch survey, bottle trapping and egg searching) should be used on each survey visit. If great crested newts are discovered on the site it will normally be necessary to carry out a population size class estimate, which involves an additional two visits in the specified time period.
The ecologist will make recommendations as to whether a European protected species licence with respect to great crested newts would be necessary, or the need for a mitigation scheme and/or precautionary method statement.
The great crested newt survey should be carried out by an experienced, licensed ecologist in line with the guidelines set out by Natural England (2001), and should be submitted with any necessary mitigation scheme and method statement to us in support of your planning application.
It's essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species, and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established before the planning permission is granted, otherwise all relevant material considerations may not have been addressed in making the decision (Government Circular 06/2005).