Our Newt Conservation Strategy

Our District Licensing Scheme has been carefully designed to offer numerous benefits to developers and planners, but ultimately to improve, protect, and enhance conservation for great crested newts

That’s why together with our partners, the Amphibian and Reptile Conversation Trust, the Freshwater Habitats Trust, and the Newt Conservation Partnership, we’ve developed a long-term, fully-funded landscape-scale conservation strategy for GCN – the first of its kind in the UK.

When developers enter our scheme, 100% of the money is used for scheme delivery which provides large-scale, upfront and long-term habitat creation, management and monitoring at compensation sites across the region where we operate. Great crested newt populations have declined dramatically in the UK over the last 50 years, largely due to a decrease in the extent and quality of aquatic and terrestrial habitat. Our work aims to reverse this trend by increasing the number of high-quality, clean water ponds, connected by suitable terrestrial habitat, creating a network where newt populations can thrive. For every pond occupied by great crested newts that is lost through development, we create or restore at least four high quality ponds, and ensure suitable surrounding terrestrial habitat is in place.


Monitoring and Management

Not only does our scheme fund the creation and restoration of newt habitat, but it also pays for the long-term monitoring and management of both aquatic and terrestrial habitat.

For each pond constructed, we conduct a site assessment within six months of creation to address any issues early on in the process. We then monitor each compensation site annually to assess whether they have been colonised by great crested newts and are contributing towards a positive conservation status at a landscape-scale. Our monitoring involves eDNA and population size class assessments to determine occupancy levels at each site. We also survey the quality of compensation sites with use of the Habitat Suitability Index (HSI), viability assessments and general overviews of the extent and quality of habitat types.

To date, over 170 clean water ponds have been created or restored for great crested newts across the regions in which we operate, and great crested newts have already been recorded in nearly two thirds of the sites (60%). All this is delivered by our partners at the Newt Conservation Partnership in collaboration with numerous landowners and managers across the region, informed by expert advice and guidance from the Million Ponds Project Toolkit and Amphibian Habitat Management Handbook.

The End result

Our scheme provides a quick, simple and certain solution, all while ensuring a sustainable future for great crested newts.

So far, we’ve delivered over £3,800,000 towards conservation projects for great crested newts, and this number is set to grow as even more regions sign up to join our scheme.

Find out more information about each of our partners.

To find all our relevant downloadable resources and guidance, including monitoring reports and landowner factsheets, visit our Resources Hub.

If you’ve still got questions or want to find out how you can join the scheme, get in touch today on 01865 688307 or info@naturespaceuk.com.