Dropmore Road, Buckinghamshire

Project Description
Practical Ecology Ltd was commissioned by Maven Plan to carry out an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of a parcel of land including the gardens of three houses. 

Project Challenges
Following submission of the Phase 1 Habitat Report, a neighbour raised an objection that their garden pond hadn’t been considered for great crested newts. This was not shown on OS or aerial plans so hadn’t been noted as part of the Extended Phase 1 habitat report. As such, the pond was surveyed and great crested newt presence/absence surveys were recommended as the proposed development site included some potential refuge habitat for the species. 

Great crested newt surveys can only be carried out in suitable weather conditions in the Spring. As the planning determination date was in mid-April, before great crested newt surveys could be carried out, and the local planning authority wasn’t willing to condition the surveys, Practical Ecology Ltd consulted with the county ecologist to find a solution. From this we were able to prepare an outline mitigation strategy based on a worst case scenario of a large population of newts which was reviewed and approved by the county ecologist. This would have been implemented if great crested newts were confirmed to be present, albeit scaled down if only a small population was found.  Great crested newt surveys were then carried out as soon as possible when suitable weather conditions prevailed and as no great crested newts were found, the mitigation strategy was no longer required.