I want to develop on a piece of land where I think there are Great Crested News. How do I proceed?

Firstly you need to employ a reputable ecological consultant. The consultant should demonstrate the presence or otherwise of great crested newts using either survey or existing records within the area. They will also carry out habitat surveys of the site and make an informed assessment of its value for great crested newt. At this stage we recommend you and your consultant make contact with the local planning authority and either go through the pre-application enquiry process or hold an informal discussion on what is the best way to proceed.

I don't have any ponds on my site, why do I still have to provide Great Crested Newt mitigation?

Great crested newts are not restricted to ponds but use the whole landscape at various times of the year. They are reliant on fresh water ponds or ditches to breed and lay eggs in the spring and summer months but for the majority of the year they reside on land in habitats such as woodland, grassland, gardens and rely on hedgerows and other connective habitats to travel around. Great crested newts can be found as far as 500m away from their breeding ponds but the majority will be within 200m of suitable pond. Having high quality habitat between ponds and hibernation sites is vital for the long-term survival of the species.

Is a financial contribution to Building Wildlife always acceptable mitigation?

No. Financial contributions are always a last resort if sufficient mitigation cannot be provided on site, or more beneficial mitigation could be provided elsewhere. Where on-site mitigation is essential, the detail will depend on the type and location of the development site. Early consultation with the Local Planning Authority and Natural Resources Wales is recommended to establish what mitigation is suitable for your development.

How is the amount of financial mitigation required calculated?

The size of the contribution is based on the actual cost of providing sufficient mitigation on the ground. It depends on the suitability of the habitat on site, the size of the site, and the distance away from the great crested newt breeding ponds. Please discuss this with your Local Planning Authority for an indication.

Do you have to be a conservation charity to apply for this grant funding?

No. Any group or individual can apply and each application will be judged on its own merits.

Does the project have to be physically building ponds or improving habitats?

Not necessarily. Projects could be education-based, they could be about survey or about securing habitats for the future. The projects which receive funding will need to be based within a specific area and need to have a positive impact for great crested newts within that area. Please contact Building Wildlife if you any questions about the eligibility of projects.

Why are Great Crested Newts a protected species when there are so many in North Wales?

Conditions in North Wales are ideal for the species. They prefer clay soils and are reliant on dense numbers of ponds. In Wrexham County Borough there is an average of over 6 ponds within any km2. Flintshire, Wrexham, Cheshire and North Shropshire is the European stronghold for the species which is absent or extremely rare elsewhere on the continent.

I am interested in carrying out a project that will benefit Great Crested Newts, but my project is not within one of the identified grant locations.

If you are located within North East Wales we suggest that you keep an eye on the grant areas as they change when new mitigation money comes in. If you register an interest with Building Wildlife Trust we will ensure that we add you to our mailing list when more monies become available. It may also be useful to contact Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, North East Wales Wildlife or North Wales Wildlife Trust who might be able to provide you with advice on other sources of grant funding.

I think I have Great Crested Newts in my pond, what do I do?

Be sure to properly identify which species of newt you have, using the identification pages on the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trusts website. Newts can be hard to identify and can have features (like a temporary breeding crest) that occur in more than one species.
Great crested newts are strictly protected in the UK. If you do have great crested newts in your pond you will need to be aware of how this law affects your management of the pond. Please talk to Natural Resources Wales or Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust.
After receiving information from you statutory agency you should inform your local Amphibian and Reptile Group and the local Biological Records Centre of the sighting. These records help these groups understand the distribution of this species locally.

How will my contribution be spent?

Your contribution will be spent on appropriate schemes which create new or enhance existing habitats for great crested newts. This can include physical works or land acquisition. Contributions from different developments can be pooled together to maximise the potential benefits for wildlife.

Are you contemplating carrying out a local conservation project? We’re here to offer advice & assist with funding.

Are you a developer that needs to provide mitigation or compensation for a new development?

Building Wildlife was originally proposed by a local authority biodiversity champion to emphasise...