Natural England - Great crested newt

Great crested newt

Advice, licensing and legislation relating to the great crested newt (GCN).

great crested newt large
Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) © Pater Wakely/Natural England

Legal protection

Great crested newt and their breeding sites or resting places are protected under Regulation 41 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010external link and Section 9external link of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence for anyone intentionally to kill, injure or disturb a great crested newt, to possess one (whether live or dead), or sell or offer for sale without a licence. It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by great crested newt for shelter.

More information on European Protected Species.

Advice and leaflets

General advice leafletSummaryAudience
Great crested newts mitigation guidelinesexternal linkGuidance for those involved in developing sites where great crested newts occur. Includes legislation and licensing, survey standards, predicting impacts, planning and undertaking mitigation.Ecologists, developers, planners
Great crested newts: conservation licences for pond management workexternal linkA conservation licence is only required if the work would otherwise be an offence in relation to great crested newts. In many cases of typical pond management, no licence is required.Ecologists, conservation managers
Great crested newts: educational pond dipping and invertebrate survey guidance: (27kb)pdf documentNatural England is keen to encourage educational pond dipping, and this note sets out how the you can do this lawfully where great crested newts occur.Teachers, field study staff, reserve managers
Great Crested Newt Conservation Handbookexternal link 
A comprehensive guide to habitat management, pond creation and restoration.Ecologists, conservation managers

Specific licensing guidance is included below in 'Licences and how to apply' next to the relevant application form

Licences and how to apply

Licences for activities prohibited under wildlife legislation are only issued for specific purposes, where there is valid justification. Your activity may be possible under a General licence or Class licence detailed below but you must ensure you are eligible and abide by their conditions.

Otherwise please apply for an individual tailored licence, each form below explains what you must provide. Licences and general advice are provided free of charge. We have introduced a discretionary chargeable service to provide advice on certain mitigation licences, see pre-submission screening service for EPS mitigation licence applications.

See our licences page for more information on: who needs a licence, what types there are and how long they take to obtain.

Class survey licences

DescriptionWho can use this?How to register
WML - CL08: (200kb)pdf document to survey great crested newts for scientific (including research) or educational purposes - Level 1, which covers surveying by hand, nets, torches and aquatic funnel traps (including bottle traps). Excludes the use of box traps and pitfall traps.
WML - CL09: (192kb)pdf document to survey great crested newts for scientific (including research) or educational purposes - Level 2, which includes all methods covered by WML-CL08 (Level 1) with the additional use of pitfall trapping, but excluding the use of box traps.
Licence report form: (100kb)word document
Pitfall Trapping notification WML-A29-1: (198kb)word document
Any person registered with Natural England may use these licences.Please use application form WML-A29: (435kb)pdf document to become registered

Individual mitigation licences

Application formGuidanceReport/renewal

Great Crested Newt in respect of development or public health and safety, damage or disease only.

All new applications must consist of an application form, method statement, reasoned statement and GCN work schedule 
(e.g. office block development on land with ponds containing great crested newt)

Template for references: (74kb)word document

European Protected Species – how to get a licence: WML-G12: (1.03mb)pdf document
If you wish to apply for an EPS Mitigation licence, please read this guidance first. It explains the information you must provide and why, and it will help you understand the process.

GCN mitigation guidelinesexternal link

GCN Conservation Handbookexternal link

Handy hints for obtaining a GCN development licence: (32kb)pdf document

FAQs on annexed licences for GCN: (286kb)pdf document

Guidance on completing GCN method statement work schedule E6 with examples: (309kb)pdf document

Experience in great crested newt mitigation: guidance for ecologists: (148kb)pdf document

Guidance on GCN master plan requirements for phased or multi-plot development applications: (155kb)pdf document

Providing unnecessary “over-mitigation/compensation” will not secure a mitigation licence: (69kb)pdf document

Guidance - Economic downturn & EPS mitigation licensing: (214kb)pdf document

Disease screening for Chytrid (when proposals are to move GCN over 2km from the donor site). Please see the Zoological Society of London’s websiteexternal link

EPS licensing and planningexternal link

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and EPS: (483kb)pdf document

Annexed licence guidance for GCN: (26kb)pdf document

Report: (216kb)word document

Report of action taken under GCN licence: (123kb)word document. (this is to be completed for annexed licences only)

Great crested newt for science, education or conservation only Fully protected animals form: WML-A29: (435kb)pdf document (e.g. surveys and conservation or research projects)

Template for References: (74kb)word document

WML-A29-1 Pitfall trapping notification form under class licence WML-CL09: (198kb)word document
Guidance on references for applicants: (47kb)pdf documentWML-LR2930: (107kb)word document

Individual research project licences

Great crested newt for science, education or conservation only Fully protected animals form: WML-A29: (435kb)pdf document (e.g. surveys and conservation or research projects)
Template for References: (74kb)word document
Guidance on references for applicants: (47kb)pdf document

WML-LR2930: (107kb)word document

Possession and sale licences

General licences descriptionWho can use this?How to register
For possession of dead specimens by members of the Guild of Taxidermists WML-GL02: (129kb)pdf document
Annex IV species list: (148kb)pdf document
Members of the Guild of TaxidermistsN/A
Individual licences descriptionGuidanceReport/renewal
EPS possession application form WML-A37: (426kb)pdf document (e.g. Non accredited museum holding EPS specimens acquired after 10 June 1994)Guidance on possession, sale, transport and exchange of Annex IV species: (176kb)pdf document
You may not need to apply for a specific licence see general licence for possession
EPS sale application form WML-A38: (426kb)pdf document (all species) (e.g. collector selling EPS specimen) 
Annex IV species list: (148kb)pdf document
WML-LR38: (208kb)word document

Enforcement and inspection

Please see our main enforcement and inspection page for more information.

Contact us

Please contact Customer Services Wildlife Licensing for further information and guidance.