Great Crested Newt Survey, Warwickshire

Great Crested Newt Survey

Udall-Martin Associates carried out a range of ecology surveys (Including a great crested newt survey) of an area of land in Haseley Knob, Warwickshire, where a residential development is proposed. The proposed development site comprises a grassland field, with scattered scrub and trees and a thin strip of naturally regenerating ash on the site boundaries. The site is situated within a small hamlet within the Warwickshire countryside, with residential dwellings, agricultural fields, hedgerows and woodland in the close vicinity.

Initially, an ecological assessment/appraisal was carried out comprising an Extended Phase-1 habitat survey of the proposed development site and a desk study involving consultation with the Warwickshire Biological Records Centre. The initial Extended Phase-1 habitat survey provides early warning of the potential ecological issues that need to be considered. This helps inform decision-making regarding development programme and design. This survey will determine which Phase-2 protected species surveys will be required, if any.

For the Haseley Knob project further Phase-2 protected species surveys comprised great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) surveys of ponds within 500m of the site and reptile surveys and water vole surveys of the proposed development site and immediate vicinity. A medium sized population of great crested newts was found in the ponds surveyed during the surveys carried out between mid-March and mid-June. It is likely the great crested newts will use the site for foraging, shelter and cover, with the scrub and trees on the site boundaries also providing commuting and dispersal routes between ponds.

Grass snakes (Natrix natrix) have large home ranges and it is possible grass snakes may use the site occasionally for commuting and dispersal. To avoid/minimise adverse impacts to great crested newts, ecological mitigation will be required. Great crested newt is a European Protected Species (EPS) and therefore a EPS mitigation licence will be required for the development works. A method statement will be produced for the licence detailing the measures to avoid/minimising the risk of harming/killing individual great crested newts and to provide compensation for the loss/damage of terrestrial habitat.

For great crested newts the proposed development site will be fenced off with appropriate amphibian fencing, newts will be trapped using pitfall traps and translocated to a suitable receptor site in the close vicinity. The mitigation for great crested newts will also provide measures to minimise the chances of harming any transient/commuting grass snakes. Habitat creation and faunal species enhancements will be recommended for the proposed development site to provide biodiversity benefits for the project. These will include species-rich hedgerow planting, wildflower grassland creation and wildlife pond creation, as well as bat roosting boxes and bird nesting boxes throughout the site.

Udall-Martin Associates work throughout the UK and extensively in the West Midlands (Birmingham, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire), East Midlands (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland), South West (Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset and Devon), South East (Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire) and throughout Wales

If you require a great crested newt survey please contact Udall-Martin Associates for advice and quotations (T: 01684 540695; M: 07968 030448; M: 07954 160468).