Amphibian Surveys in East Anglia
Britain is home to 6 native amphibian species (excluding the recently reintroduced pool frog). These are common toad, natterjack toad, common frog, smooth newt, palmate newt and great crested newt, all of which occur in Norfolk.
Although all amphibians receive some limited protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 plus revisions, the natterjack toad and great crested newt receive special protection under this legislation and also under European Legislation (the Habitats directive).
This makes it an offence to:
1) Disturb, injure or kill recklessly either species;
2) Disturb or destroy recklessly the habitat of either species (a breeding site or place of shelter);
It is important, therefore, to establish the status of great crested newts and natterjack toads on or close to a proposed development site. If either are present, a mitigation scheme needs to be developed. This scheme needs to ensure the favourable conservation status of the species by minimising direct threats, permitting continued access to breeding ponds and terrestrial habitat, and compensating for any loss of habitat.
Great Crested Newts
Great crested newt surveys are normally carried out between the months of March and June when newts are in the ponds.
Philip Parker Associates are able to undertake a variety of survey techniques for great crested newts, all under Natural England survey licences. These include:
- Torch surveys;
- Bottle Trapping;
- Egg Search;
Surveyors are also able to advise on the potential for a particular pond to support great crested newts through the use of the Habitat Suitability Index.
Surveys for natterjack toads at breeding ponds are best undertaken in April/May/June when calling male and spawn strings are present, again under Natural England survey licences. Outside this peak period, surveys include searches for toads in suitable terrestrial habitats during August/September. Assessments of habitat suitability can also be made.