common frog

Info & advice

Newts: habitat

A newt habitat is threatened, what can be done?

Quick answer
Only Great Crested Newts have full legal protection, unfortunately Smooth and Palmate Newts do not.

Further information
Of the widespread species of amphibian, only the Great Crested Newt is protected by law from intentional killing and injury; their habitats (including ponds and key foraging areas) are also protected. All of the UK’s rare amphibians and reptiles (Natterjack Toad, Pool Frog, Smooth Snake and Sand Lizard) are protected in the same way. Smooth and Palmate Newts are only protected against sale/trade.

In England, (under Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006) all public bodies must have regard for Great Crested Newts (specifically under ‘biodiversity conservation’) when carrying our their functions. In Wales, Section 40(1) of the NERC Act 2006 places a new duty on every public authority, in exercising its functions, to ‘have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’. The duty affects all public authorities. Local authorities are a key target group, but the duty also affects a wide range of public bodies, including fire, police, health and transport authorities.

In addition, Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS9) states that planning authorities should ensure that species of principal importance, including Great Crested Newts and Common Toads, are protected from the adverse effects of development.

If you suspect any laws are being broken please contact your local Wildlife Crime Officer or a relevant advisory body. For support against potentially harmful planning applications try contacting your local Amphibian and Reptile Group.


What kind of water body will newts breed in?

Quick answer
They will make use of most still, freshwater from small garden water features to large ponds.

Further information
Newts lay their eggs in freshwater. They prefer still water and generally don’t use streams and rivers as the eggs can wash away. They may use canals or pockets at the sides of slow-flowing streams.

Newts depend on broad-leaved vegetation on which to lay their eggs and prefer fish-free ponds.

great crested newt
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