After my last post aimed more at other ecologists this one is an introduction for those involved in development.
For anyone who doesn’t know this little guy is a Great Crested Newt, they are one of the most protected animals around and a frequent issue for development projects. You cannot get planning permission if the planning authority suspects there are newts on your site and you have no information on them, or if you know there are newts there but not how many or how they use the site.
Luckily there are things that can be done to protect the newts on a site, while still allowing building to go ahead. Of course it starts with having accurate information and that means surveys done using standard methods so we can know if there are newts on your site and how your site compares to others. This needs to be done at the the right time of year and as you can see from the table below this is coming up now.
|Dates||What are newts doing?||Survey possible|
|Jan-March||Emerging from hibernation depending on the weather and moving towards ponds||No|
|Mid-March to May||Newts are in their breeding ponds. Eggs will appear in this period and later on the young||Optimal time for survey visits|
|May-June||Adult newts start to leave the ponds and feed on land||Survey visits can be done in late May/early June but only to follow up earlier visits|
|June-July||Adults active on land, young growing in ponds||No
|August-September||The years young emerge from the ponds||No|
|October-November||Newts go into hibernation||No
|December||Newts will be hibernating in cracks in the ground and under piles of stones or wood.||No|
Because of the limited season and the need for multiple visits demand for surveyors can be high so as well as information this post is an appeal to any developer who has ponds or ditches on their site to start booking those surveys now, or risk having to delay another year.