Protecting Newt Habitats during Construction & Development

by Liz Ratcliffe on Jun 5, 18 in Applications, Projects, with no comments

The great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) is the largest of Britain’s three newt species and can be identified by its dark brown warty skin and bright yellow-orange belly with irregular blotches. The males also have a jagged crest along the centre of the back and tail.

Breeding takes place in ponds, although a large part of their lifespan is spent in terrestrial habitats where they may wander as far as a kilometre from a breeding pond. Great crested newt populations often depend on having a network of ponds close together and interlinked by suitable terrestrial habitat. They are most frequently recorded in medium-sized ponds that are well vegetated but not heavily shaded. Occasional drying out is not a barrier to newt breeding and prevents colonisation by fish. The preferred terrestrial habitat is unimproved grassland, scrub and woodland.

The British population of great crested newts is one of the largest in Europe.  However, due to enormous declines in their range and abundance in the last century, this species of newt is strictly protected by British and European law.  They are protected under both the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations. It is an offence to intentionally or (in England and Wales) recklessly kill, injure or capture great crested newts or obstruct access to, damage or destroy the resting places used by these animals. This law refers to all great crested newt life stages, including eggs.

Ecological Fencing offers protection to newts and other wildlife

During a construction project, it is therefore necessary to ensure that developers and construction teams have a mechanism to minimise disturbance on resident wildlife populations and take appropriate action to ensure newts do not enter the site, or that they are collected from the site and moved to suitable habitat (under licence) where they will not be endangered.

The installation of ecological fencing can provide a suitable barrier to either keep great crested newts off a development site, form an enclosure from which they can be collected prior to any ground works, or be used to enclose a receptor area whilst breeding populations and habitat are established.

Why 100% recycled ecological fencing is the developer’s choice

The level of mitigation and compensation required is dependent on the size of the population associated either with breeding ponds or their terrestrial habitat on or within close proximity to the site. Mitigation will usually range from adapting working methods to the installation of temporary amphibian fencing and pitfall traps. The amount of fencing and the length of time it needs to be in place will depend on the population size and distance from the nearest active pond.

Ecological fencing is typically utilised as a key element of a plan to manage protected species on a proposed development site.  A developer may be required to undertake habitat surveys and/or extended protected species surveys in order to establish the habitat potential of a particular location. Specialised ecological fencing is used as part of a mitigation proposal to manage a protected species population. This may well be for newts, but could also include snakes, water vole or other reptiles.

Centriforce Products Ltd: Developers’ No 1 choice

Centriforce utilises its extensive experience in recycled plastic sourcing, procurement, design and processing to meet client needs by providing a specialist ecological fencing range. Our product is proven in use in many projects, both within the UK and internationally, where it demonstrates its durability in demanding environments and yet is completely manufactured from recycled polymers which can then be recycled again at the end of the project life.

Our eco-fencing will help ensure protected species are carefully managed on a development site so that the species can be removed, relocated from the construction site to allow the development to take place and then finally re-homed in an appropriate environment – either back on site or in an alternative location.

We offer different versions of ecological fencing, including:

Permanent ecological fencing

Extremely tough and damage resistant.

– Designed to remain in situ for 3 – 5 years

– Ideal for perimeter newt fencing on sites where there is movement of personnel, plant or other traffic.

– Made from 3.5mm thick recycled HDPE material.

Semi-Permanent ecological fencing

– Provides a very tough, damage resistant newt barrier.

– Designed to remain in the ground for 12-18 months.

– Made from 5 mm –1mm thick, recycled HDPE material

– Available in rolls for easy installation over wide areas, which vastly reduces installation times.

Temporary ecological fencing

– Used as a newt fencing solution for shorter term projects, or where human disturbance is minimal.

– Designed to remain in the ground for 6-12 months only.

– An ideal solution for creating drift fencing within a great crested newt trapping enclosure, when installed in conjunction with pitfall traps.

– Made from 25mm thick polythene in 100m rolls ensuring that joins in the material are kept to a minimum and rolls can be easily moved.

Examples of successful projects: Working with Three Shires

Centriforce works closely with Three Shires, the specialist ecological contractor to develop and refine it’s Herpetosure fencing range. The product is proven in use in many projects, both within the UK and internationally, where it demonstrates its durability in demanding environments and yet is completely manufactured from recycled polymers which can then be recycled again at the end of the project life.

As part of the process to bring the dormant, 19-acre Ropsley quarry back into use, Three Shires Ltd were engaged to install ecological fencing to capture and protect the quarry’s on-site population of Great Crested Newts and reptiles.  The environmental fencing was produced from recycled plastic sheet manufactured by Centriforce.

The project also required the creation of a large compensatory habitat to ‘translocate’ the protected animals captured in the quarry. This involved the creation of hibernacula (refuges and overwintering sites for the animals) and ponds, the planting of trees and hydroseeding of the area.

The project required approx. 1500m of Herpetosure® perimeter fencing and a similar length of Herpetosure internal fencing to facilitate species capture within the quarry itself.

Centriforce’s recycling credentials

Centriforce Products Ltd has been at the forefront of plastics recycling for over 35 years.  From our large Liverpool recycling plant, we are able to offer a unique, fully traceable process which can recycle a broad range of plastic waste materials and convert them into useful second life products.

The UK currently exports nearly 15 million tonnes of waste material for recycling every year, of this approximately 0.8 million tonnes is waste plastic. Centriforce offers a UK-based alternative to this, by manufacturing quality, second-life products from recycled plastics.

Centriforce produces a range of products from recycled plastics, ranging from products such as our ecological fencing, to those used by Multinational Utility companies to protect their buried assets, to solutions for agriculture, including caps for hay bales and animal housing, to construction of garden furniture and boardwalks.

Find out more

To find out more about Centriforce’s ecological fencing products, please visit our Ecological Fencing section on our website or contact our sales team on

Centriforce Products Ltd

12-14 Derby Road, Liverpool, L20 8EE, UK

Tel: 0151 207 5100                 Email:


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