Great Crested Newt Mitigation Project on the Isle of Anglesey

Great Crested Newt Fencing

Early in 2016 Udall-Martin Associates carried out a great crested newt mitigation project on the Isle of Anglesey for a proposed new primary school. It was no ordinary site as archeologists working in the field revealed that the site was one of the largest Neolithic sites in Wales. The team spent many months safely removing all the Neolithic artefacts.

In 2015 Udall-Martin Associates carried out a full ecological assessment of the site including Extended Phase-1 habitat survey, bat activity surveys and great crested newt surveys of ponds in the close vicinity and produced ecology reports to accompany the planning application. Great crested newts are European Protected Species and therefore the animal and their habitats are fully protected by law. Great crested newts are fully protected from disturbance, harm, injury and killing, whilst their habitat (breeding and terrestrial habitats) are fully protected from loss, damage and destruction. The early detection of great crested on or in the close vicinity of a proposed development site (if present) can save costly delays to the works programme.

A medium population of great crested newts were located in two ponds and as the ponds were close to the development site this meant a European Protected Species (EPS) mitigation licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) was required to allow the development to proceed.

The timescales for the project were tight and therefore we worked closely with our client and carried out preliminary consultations with NRW to ensure that our proposed mitigation and compensation measures would meet the strict requirements from NRW and also ensure that the proposed development started on time. Udall-Martin Associates produced a detailed Method Statement to accompany the EPS mitigation licence application. The Method Statement included details of measures to avoid/minimise the risk of harming and injuring great crested newts during the school construction phase and to ensure long-term great crested newt compensation habitat was retained/created.

We obtained the Natural Resources Wales EPS mitigation licence for great crested newts to allow the development works to proceed on time whilst meeting wildlife legislation. Udall-Martin Associates land management team carried out the on-site mitigation works as per the EPS licence involving installing specialist amphibian fencing and pitfall traps across the entire site and carrying out a capture and translocation exercise. Internal drift fencing has now been removed, whilst the semi-permanent perimeter fencing will remain for the duration of the construction period to ensure no great crested newts enter the development site.

Udall-Martin Associates land management team also created a new great crested newt pond and hibernaculum within the great crested newt receptor site directly adjacent to the school site. Further habitat creation is proposed for the school site involving wildflower grassland, species-rich hedgerows, orchards and native tree and shrub planting, which will be subsequently managed for wildlife. This school project will provide great biodiversity benefits and also provide an excellent educational resource for the school.

Udall-Martin Associates have carried out numerous great crested newt surveys throughout the UK, including Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire and North Wales.

Our great crested newt surveys are carried out by our Natural England/Natural Resources Wales licensed ecologists according to current best practice/standard survey guidelines. Also, our great crested newt mitigation and compensation works follow the great crested newt mitigation guidelines as set out by Natural England/Natural Resources Wales

Please note that statutory agencies stipulate that great crested newt surveys of breeding ponds can only be carried out at certain times of year, i.e. from mid-March to mid-June, with two visits required between mid-April and mid-May. Also, night-time weather temperatures need to be above 5 degrees Celsius for surveys. Natural England also stipulate that ponds within 250-500m from the proposed development should be surveyed; however, this depends on whether it is considered that if great crested newts were present within a pond(s) that the proposed development works would  adversely affect the newt population.

Udall-Martin Associates provides a pragmatic and practical approach and works closely with the statutory agencies to ensure proportionate mitigation and compensation is recommended.

Udall-Martin Associates can provide for all your great crested newt needs. Call us today on 01684 540695 for a quotation or advice. We would be happy to assist with your planning application, satisfying planning conditions and/or obtaining a European Protected Species mitigation licence.