You must apply for a licence from Natural Resources Wales if you’re doing any work that affects a protected species in Wales. This includes:

  • disturbing, trapping or handling protected species
  • damaging their habitats, for example by restoring a pond or building a housing development

Great crested newts are protected by law, including their breeding sites and resting places.

Great crested newts and the law

It is against the law to:

  • capture, injure or kill great crested newts
  • damage or destroy a breeding or resting place
  • obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places
  • possess, transport, sell or exchange live or dead great crested newts
  • take great crested newt eggs

You may be able to get a licence from us for certain specific purposes if the work you want to do is likely to commit an offence.

When you don’t need a great crested newt licence

You can work without a licence if you can:

  • avoid killing or injuring great crested newts
  • avoid destroying their eggs
  • avoid damaging their habitat
  • avoid disturbing breeding newts

You may be able to time works to avoid sensitive periods so you will need to allow time to plan for this in your work schedule. You may need to employ an ecologist to advise you.

When you need a great crested newt licence

Great crested newts breed in ponds and other water bodies but are dependent on other habitat throughout the year. Activities that can affect great crested newts include:

  • maintaining, restoring, or destroying ponds or water bodies
  • introducing fish into ponds used by great crested newts
  • removal of vegetation, scrub, brash piles used by great crested newts
  • excavations and other ground works
  • surveys using torches, nets, or traps

Report great crested newts

There is no need to report sightings of great crested newts. We do encourage people to send details of wildlife sightings to their local record centre.

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust has information to help you identify the different newt species.

eDNA test results for great crested newt licensing

We will now accept eDNA test results as evidence of great crested newts.

Apply for a great crested newt licence

If you cannot avoid disturbing great crested newts, or damaging their breeding sites and resting places, you can apply for a species licence.

You can apply for a licence for a range of different activities, the most common of which include:

Contact us

You can contact us for help at any time before or during your licence application.

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