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Our Consultancy team lead a Great Crested Newt translocation on the M40
Our Consultancy team lead a Great Crested Newt translocation on the M40
Published on 01 May 2024

Our Consultancy division, and our Operations teams have been working collaboratively alongside other contractors on a highways project which includes a Great Crested Newt translocation.

It had been identified that proposed works were near ponds know to have Great Crested Newts (GCN). Our Ecology team of Alice Burgess and Andrea Evans have been installing temporary amphibian fencing with pitfall traps to be able to capture and translocate any GCN found out of the working footprint and into the safe receptor zone.

All works were under a Natural England GCN licence and staff members supervising also hold personal GCN survey licences. During a finger-tip search, Alice found 4 juvenile GCN under a discarded felt mat. Two were on the surface of the soil and the other two were buried in the topsoil, keeping warm.

Amphibians are often found under carpet tiles, felt and metal corrugated sheets (also known as refugia) as they conduct heat during the day, allowing them to thermo-regulate and rest safely. GCN are a European Protected Species (EPS) and their population is threatened by habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, pond destruction and climate change.

They are also an indicator species of water quality and aquatic plant diversity which enables conservationists to understand environmental conditions and pond conservation. The pitfall traps will be monitored for the next 30 days, and any GCN (or other amphibians) found will be moved into a safe receptor area.

Once the 30 days have been completed with five days clear of no GCN capture, the pitfall traps will be closed and removed before other works commence. The amphibian fencing will remain in situ for the duration of the project to keep amphibians out of the working area and will be removed at a suitable time of year once the project is finalised.

An ECoW will be present during any other destructive works on site to supervise and remove any individuals that may not have been captured during the initial mitigation period.

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