BSG Ecology has numerous licensed great crested newt (GCN) surveyors with extensive experience of survey, mitigation, the licensing process and the assessment of effects on the species. One member of staff is also a Registered Consultant with Natural England, which permits them to use the Low Impact GCN Class Licence. We have also been involved in habitat creation and research on GCN.
We undertake large scale and high profile great crested newt survey and mitigation schemes and also have experience of Conservation Licences for great crested newts. Our experience and understanding of great crested newt ecology provides us with an in-depth knowledge of the distribution of the species in different areas of the UK. Our team can quickly identify situations where the presence of great crested newt requires consideration, and find solutions to often complex problems.
Great Crested Newt Survey
We employ a wide range of survey techniques including:
- Initial site appraisal using the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI);
- Presence/absence surveys following the great crested newt mitigation guidelines (i.e. bottle trapping, torching, netting, egg searching and searching of refugia);
- eDNA testing of water samples for presence/absence of great crested newt (where applicable);
- Population size class assessments; and
- Monitoring surveys required by licensing bodies as a condition of development licences.
Great Crested Newt Mitigation
Wherever possible we will work with the project team to devise a way forward which would avoid impacts on great crested newts. Avoidance measures to be implemented are recorded in a non-licenced method statement. Where impacts cannot be avoided, BSG Ecology is able to clearly explain the licencing process and prepare and implement mitigation and translocation strategies. BSG Ecology has a good track record in securing EPS licences allowing such works to proceed. Our experience and capability includes the following:
- Identification of suitable receptor sites;
- Site based advice and supervision of habitat creation and restoration works (including great crested newt ponds, terrestrial habitat and hibernacula);
- Design advice on great crested newt tunnels and great crested newt underpasses;
- Pitfall trapping, refuge searching and night torchlight searches to improve capture rates;
- Temporary care and transport of great crested newts (and other amphibian species);
- Hand-searches, destructive search and watching briefs;
- Development and supervision of the erection of temporary and permanent amphibian exclusion fencing schemes including use of amphibian gates and stop grilles;
- Tool box talks to site staff and contractors; and
- Post-mitigation monitoring and advice.
Our ecologists have extensive experience of trapping, handling and relocating great crested newts under licence. For larger schemes, we are also able to draw upon our well-established network of reliable sub-contractors. This allows us to complete surveys and large-scale newt mitigation work across the UK whilst remaining cost-effective.
We help clients to take account of great crested newts in the design of a project at an early stage to help avoid conflicts. Our staff keep abreast of emerging research, biosecurity measures, policies, statutory agency technical updates and guidance and regularly attend conferences, seminars and workshops to ensure that we provide up to date advice and solutions to our clients.
Our consultancy services include:
- Desk-based studies and consultation;
- Advice on legal protection afforded to great crested newt and the EPS licensing process;
- Stakeholder liaison and negotiation;
- Bespoke great crested newt mitigation, compensation and monitoring strategies from design to practical implementation;
- Input to and/or preparation of great crested newt masterplans;
- Preparation of non-licenced method statements ;
- Preparation of method statements to support EPS licence applications and co-ordination of licence submissions; and
- Habitat enhancement and management plans for development and conservation led projects.
BSG Ecology was approached by Axis PED to join the client team providing support to British Salt (a company wholly owned by TATA Chemicals Europe) for a proposed 14km twin pipeline in Cheshire required to supply brine to various locally based manufacturing plants.
We worked closely with the two local authority ecologists (in Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester Councils) and Natural England to undertake a thorough assessment of the likely impacts of the pipeline on great crested newts and to gain agreement over the data required to support a planning application that could be validated and determined.
BSG Ecology was commissioned by The Football Association to provide ecological advice in relation to proposals to construct a new National Football Centre at a site near Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire.
BSG Ecology was commissioned by The Football Association to provide ecological advice in relation to proposals to construct a new National Football Centre at a site near Burton Upon Trent in Staffordshire. We then worked closely with the design and build contractors and other ground workers to implement the licence over two years through pitfall trapping, translocation and habitat creation.
BSG Ecology was instructed by Juno Energy to undertake an ecological survey and assessment of a small afforested site near Swansea. The proposal concerned the development of a 1 MW photovoltaic array within an area of commercial forestry and fringing grassland. Next to the site were four large ponds set in pasture land.
The fringes of the site, which included hedge banks and a compost heap, were considered to potentially provide good terrestrial habitat for newts. It was therefore important that the status of great crested newts within the ponds was understood, to ensure that the species was appropriately taken into account. We therefore advised, following discussion with the client, that an eDNA sampling exercise was completed using industry standard methods.