This project involved ecological appraisal of a 4km proposed pipeline route. Most of the route was in arable land and seemed to present few constraints to pipeline installation, but with 15 ponds present within 250m of the proposed route, this ended up being my biggest project of the year so far. The client preferred not to rely on previous survey data and habitat appraisals and requested that all accessible ponds within 250m of the route be surveyed for great crested newt presence/absence.
Most of the ponds were of very limited ecological interest and, predictably, did not contain great crested newts, with one pond having the dubious honour of producing absolutely nothing at all – not even a beetle – over the four survey visits. The most promising pond, seen below, could only muster a maximum count of eight smooth newts.
Maybe not the most exciting survey ever, but good news for the client, as they can now demonstrate with confidence that great crested newts are unlikely to be a cause for concern on this project.