GCN Legislation

The animals themselves, their eggs as well as their breeding sites and resting places are protected by law. Breeding takes place from around March to June so the best time to survey for great crested newts using eDNA is after the season around mid April. Males undergo an elaborate courtship routine displaying their jagged crest before female newts. After mating, each female lays around 200 eggs, individually laid and wrapped inside the leaves of pond plants.

Things that would cause you to break the law include:

  • • Capturing, killing, disturbing or injuring great crested newts
  • • Deliberately damaging or destroying a breeding or resting place
  • • Obstructing access to their resting or sheltering places (deliberately or by not taking enough care)
  • • Possessing, selling, controlling or transporting live or dead newts, or parts of them
  • • Taking great crested newt eggs

You could be sent to prison for up to 6 months and be fined £5,000 for each offence if you’re found guilty.

Building & Development Work can harm great crested newts and their habitats, for example if it:

  • • Removes habitat or makes it unsuitable
  • • Disconnects or isolates habitats, e.g. by splitting it up
  • • Changes habitats of other species, reducing the newts’ food sources
  • • Increases shade and silt in ponds or other water bodies used by the newts
  • • Changes the water table
  • • Introduces fish, which will eat newt eggs or young
  • • Increases the numbers of people, traffic and pollutants in the area or the amount of chemicals that run off into ponds
eDNA analysis for great crested newts