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Great Crested Newt Monitoring 2018 - BE0148

Description
This investment is to carry out monitoring of Great Crested Newts in England. This is a European protected species, for which we have reporting commitments under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive. This investment would fulfil the statutory monitoring requirements for the English component of reporting for Article 17. Previously, when the UK failed to report on GCN status, the European Commission started infraction proceedings against us. Without this investment we would have a high risk of infraction again. The data resulting from this investment would provide evidence to inform policy decisions around the conflicting interests of protected species conservation, and the development and construction industries, by strengthening GCN occupancy estimates in England.

For the last 3 years GCN monitoring has been carried out by the Freshwater Habitats Trust. This was part of a wider Heritage Lottery Funded project. Defra contributed to the project to ensure the GCN monitoring would fulfil statutory monitoring requirements, through the purchase of eDNA kits. The Heritage Lottery funding has now ended and we have no other means for obtaining data on GCN required for Article 17 reporting. During the previous project the Freshwater Habitats Trust set-up volunteer and land access networks which we need to utilise it order to carry out GCN monitoring in 2018. The requested fund would utilise the existing Freshwater Habitats Trust volunteer and land-owner networks and would fund the management of volunteers and purchasing of eDNA kits and analysis of results in order to fulfil reporting requirements.

Data collected during the previous monitoring project provides a baseline estimation for occupancy throughout the GCN range. Overall we can be 95% sure that the GCN population did not change by more than 30%. With the start of the District Level Licensing Program, we need to ensure we can detect the effect of the programme on the wider GCN population. The proposed investment would allow data generated from the DLLP to be put into wider, England level, context. This investment therefore supports the DLLP, which is a biodiversity net gain approach supporting the 25 YEP commitment. Close links have already been made between the intended project partners and the District Level Licensing Program. Potential monitoring sites of the DLLP have been overlaid with the sites which were monitored over the past 3 years, and the sampling techniques between the two programmes have been designed to be complimentary. Savings will be made for Defra as overlapping sites, which fulfil DLLP requirements, will be monitored by the DLLP, and site specific data shared for reporting purposes.

An additional product of this fund will be collaboration between agencies, devolved govs., and NGO’s, who have already expressed will, to develop a plan for attaining sustainable resourcing for future GCN monitoring.
Objective
This investment is to carry out monitoring of Great Crested Newts in England. The resulting data would provide evidence to inform policy decisions around the conflicting interests of protected species conservation, and the development and construction industries, by strengthening GCN occupancy estimates in England. This investment would fulfill the statutory monitoring requirements for the English component of reporting for Article 17 of the Habitats Directive.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2018

To: 2019

Cost: £64,004
Contractor / Funded Organisations
F E R A (FERA), Freshwater Habitats Trust
Keywords
Biodiversity