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Great crested newt survey training course

Course summary


The aim of the great crested newt survey training course is to introduce the knowledge and skills required to deliver commercial surveys in accordance with best practice guidance.


Course content




  1. conservation status;
  2. distribution;
  3. threats to populations, species range and species survival;
  4. newt ecology, breeding biology and behaviour;
  5. the ecology of ponds, insofar as this affects great crested newts;
  6. known ecological requirements;
  7. legal protection;
  8. licensing and permissions;
  9. suitable weather conditions and appropriate (and peak) survey season (note that this may vary from region to region, and from year to year) and weather conditions;
  10. habitat assessments using HSI and its limitations;
  11. current relevant guidance on survey methods and standards (e.g. English Nature, 2001);
  12. main survey methods used to survey for great crested newts (netting, bottle trapping, torch counts and egg search) and the strengths, weaknesses and limitations of these methods;
  13. range of factors that might lead to bias in the survey results, and false negatives;
  14. factors affecting surveying (e.g. temperature/weather conditions);
  15. biosecurity precautions and procedures;
  16. procedures for reporting any accidental deaths or injury of great crested newts during surveys;
  17. sources of information on known occurrence and distribution of newts (including NBN Gateway, local biological/environmental records and local contacts/Amphibian and Reptile Group);
  18. metadata standards / data sharing; and
  19. health and safety issues commonly associated with newt surveying.




  1. identifying great crested newts including juveniles, larvae and eggs (including the identification, determination of age class and sex of adults under torch survey conditions);
  2. identifying palmate and smooth newts, as well as introduced species such as the alpine newt which may occasionally be encountered;
  3. assessing habitat potential for great crested newts and calculate a HSI score for the water bodies to be surveyed (where appropriate);
  4. determining the geographical scope of the survey, taking into account the survey requirements and the landscape within the survey area;
  5. planning and implement sound scientific surveys, including determining which survey techniques are appropriate to use for a given water body;
  6. identifying whether temperature and weather conditions are suitable for the survey;
  7. interpreting and analyse survey data (e.g. in terms of the ecological factors/processes likely to be affecting the distribution and abundance of great crested newts and other amphibians on survey site);
  8. undertaking a population size class estimate (small, medium, large);
  9. taking appropriate health and safety precautions;
  10. undertaking appropriate biosecurity precautions and procedures, preparing biosecurity risk assessments.
  11. effectively searching ponds for amphibians using nets;
  12. deploying and recovering bottle traps and egg strips safely and in a manner that will not pose a risk to any great crested newts (or any other species) captured;
  13. safely handling amphibians, ensuring their welfare;
  14. photographing newts for identification purposes where this is deemed necessary; and
  15. undertaking the procedure for reviving any amphibians which may have become accidentally distressed during surveys (e.g. from heat stress, asphyxiation), and to avoid any repetition.




First Ecology, Callow Offices, Shipham Road, Cheddar, Somerset, BS27 3DQ.




Monday 22nd May 2017.










BOOKING ESSENTIAL: We are very sorry but we are unable to issue refunds if you are unable to attend the course for any reason.