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Great crested newts

We are working with Natural England to develop and trial a new approach to support great crested newts (GCN) into the area. GCN's are a European protected species whose numbers have declined in recent decades.

A pilot project to help with GCN conservation has been set up, which also reduces delay and costs for developers. You can read the project methodology and conservation strategy for great crested newts, including how you can get involved, in chapter 10 of our Natural Woking supporting information document.

Read the Natural Woking supporting information

The first location for habitat improvements for GCN is Westfield Common. This is the first of a series of steps we are taking towards supporting specific species in the area as part of the UK's wider commitment to the Habitats Directive.

View the great crested newt habitat improvement plan: Westfield Common

Project updates

Improvement plans

The Woking great crested newt pilot project is in its fifth year of habitat improvements at Westfield Common. Works were completed on site in January and February 2020 to construct new and restore existing ponds. A report explaining these and the outcomes of the fourth year of the project is available below.

These improvements are in addition to the continuing complementary conservation work of local volunteers, guided by Surrey Wildlife Trust, in line with the wider management plan for the common.

View the great crested newts improvement plan: year one report

View the great crested newts improvement plan: year two report

View the great crested newts improvement plan: year three report

View the great crested newts improvement plan: year four report

Natural England's pilot

Natural England is rolling out the licensing approach used in our Woking pilot project to other areas around the country. 

Read more about the progress of Natural England's pilot

Feature article in professional magazine

An article about the project’s first five years was published in ‘In Practice’, the magazine of The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM), a leading professional membership body representing ecologists and environmental managers in the UK.

Read the great crested newt article: September 2021

Contact us

If you’re a developer or landowner interested in taking part in the pilot, or if you’d like to volunteer on the project, please email our green infrastructure team.