Greater Crested Newt data – where is the best place to access data for development?

Greater Crested Newts, Triturus cristatus, are the largest newt species in the UK and are protected under both EU and UK legislation, due to the declining population and an increasingly fragmented distribution.

When undertaking any building or development work it is important to consider whether or not newts may be present.  A data search from TVERC will help ecologists and developers decide whether or not newts are likely to be present in the local area by providing records of existing newt populations.

The primary source of openly available GCN records is Natural England. They have a dataset called “GCN Class Survey Licence Returns (England)” available for download on the Natural England website, from which 1169 records are within Oxfordshire and Berkshire (Figure 2). The attribute table of this data includes the species, Triturus cristatus, the date, grid reference and whether it is present or absent

TVERC, in contrast, have 5013 records, which are sent with a wealth of information including the species, abundance, sex, stage, data origin, protective legislations for that species, grid reference, etc. These records are widespread throughout Berkshire and Oxfordshire (Figure 1) and cover a far greater area than the records available from Natural England. TVERC compared the number of records provide by TVERC against those available from Natural England for some data searches we carried out (Table 1).

It is clear then that accessing GCN data from TVERC provides a wealth of information to ecologists and developers which will help ensure newts are properly considered as part of the planning process.  Failure to do so may mean significant delays to securing planning permission and subsequent development and risk possible prosecution under European legislation. 

To request access to TVERC data, please submit a request via our website: http://www.tverc.org/cms/content/data-searches

Posted: July 17, 2019