Destructive search for great crested newts

Reptile surveys at Poling, West Sussex

Client: Fargro Ltd.

Objective: Mitigation for great crested newts to facilitate the relocation of a horticultural business

Fargro Ltd is to relocate from their current premises in the north of Littlehampton to a new site at The Vinery in Poling, West Sussex, which will include a warehouse, offices and covered storage areas.

The Task

The Ecology Consultancy carried out a preliminary ecological appraisal at the site in 2012, which recorded habitats suitable for reptiles. During a reptile survey  in the summer of 2012 The Ecology Consultancy recorded a single great crested newt under a reptile refugia, adjacent to a dry ditch in the north-central section of the site.

Following this find, The Ecology Consultancy was commissioned to carry out great crested newt surveys of five local ponds and to devise future mitigation work at the new site.

A survey of five ponds within 500m of the site was carried out to establish the population size and distribution of newts. A medium population of great crested newts was recorded within one of the ponds, approximately 400m to the west of the site. The newt recorded previously was likely to be from this meta-population.

The outcome

A Natural England European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) Licence was granted in order to allow the destruction of terrestrial newt habitat. A receptor site was created and subsequently a program of great crested newt capture and translocation was carried out.  Following this, hand searches and destructive searches were carried out at the site, including a detailed destructive search of a dry ditch. All works were overseen and implemented by one of our licensed great crested newt ecologists.

Construction at the site is currently underway. The soft landscaping proposals include the creation of wildflower meadow areas, the planting of trees, hedgerows and shrubs, and the planting of areas of woodland buffer vegetation.

A new pond will be created in close proximity to the receptor site with an area of marshy grassland planting to its north, and the existing drainage ditches will be re-profiled to allow improved water retention.

 

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