GCN Legislation

Great crested newts, their eggs, and their breeding and resting places are protected by law in Europe. The newt breeding season takes place from March to June, with mid-April being the optimal time to survey for great crested newts using eDNA. 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.

Under European law, it is prohibited for you to:

  • • Capture, kill, disturb or injure great crested newts
  • • Deliberately damage or destroy a breeding or resting place
  • • Obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places (deliberately or by not taking enough care)
  • • Possess, sell, controll or transport live or dead newts, or parts of them
  • • Tak great crested newt eggs

Failure to comply with the above could result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and a fine of £5,000 for each offence if 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
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