Assessing the likely presence of great crested newts in ponds can be accomplished relatively easily by examining aquatic habitat features such as the presence of fish, waterfowl and water quality. This information is used to calculate a Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) for a pond that can be represented by a score ranging from poor to excellent. In the right location good or excellent ponds are very likely to be occupied by newts and further survey work may be required. Poor ponds are rarely occupied and further survey work is not usually required. Great crested newt HSI assessments are a very powerful predictive tool - especially when combined with the excellent database search results available from organisations such as KRAG1.
More information on HSI assessments is available on the Calumma Ecological Services website.
Knowing whether newts are likely to be present can be crucial when submitting planning applications. Full survey work for newts must take place at appropriate times of the year and submission of a planning application that doesn't consider the presence of newts can result in lengthy delays. Why force a planning officer to delay (or even reject) a planning application when a preliminary HSI assessment that may conclude no further survey work is required can be undertaken so cost effectively?!
This year Calumma Ecological Services is offering a special summer sale for clients in SE England. Great crested newt habitat assessments (including report) are available from just £350. That's quite a saving and also quite possibly, the lowest price in the UK. As they say in all the best adverts though, availabilty is limited so hurry whilst stocks last!
(1) No this isn't a hidden cost! As one of KRAG's Corporate Members, Calumma Ecological Services is able to include database search results within survey reports completely free of charge!