A look at why newt fencing is used and the types of fencing available.
Newt fencing is designed to manage the movement of newts, reptiles and other amphibians. Newt fencing is a low plastic sheeting fence that is slightly sunk into the ground and supported by posts that are usually made of either wood or plastic. There are many reasons why you would need newt fencing: to keep animals out of a certain areas say construction, or to keep them safe within their own habitat, or to help round up a large number for relocation. It is most commonly used on construction sites in order to limit harm to any species that are protected.
The Triturus cristatus, most commonly known as the great crested newt, is a UK native amphibian but can also be found across Northern Europe. The Triturus cristatus is a protected fauna species and is protected under UK law through the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is illegal to kill, disturb or injure any Triturus cristatus intentionally.
The Triturus cristatus habitat needs are still fresh water to allow breeding but it will spend most of its time on dry land. Their preferred habitats are scrub woodland, grassland or hedgerows. The Triturus cristatus will have a range of around 250 yards centred around the breeding pool.
Fencing and trapping
If a development or construction site is home to the Triturus cristatus the developer must ensure that newts are not killed or injured and therefore may have to enclose the development area with newt fencing to trap and move the newts before work can begin.
Newt fencing is usually made of a plastic sheet that is partially sunk into the ground, normally to approximately 8 inches. The part above ground is supported by stakes that are placed along the fence line. The sunken part of the fence should have a horizontal return that faces out in order to discourage the newts from returning to the development area. The fencing should also have an overhang on the top to discourage newts from scaling the fence.
Newt fencing types
There tend to be two categories of newt fencing: temporary (if the lifespan is under 2 years) and permanent (if the lifespan is over 2 years). The fence materials will differ depending on the amount of time the fence will be in use. Temporary fences are usually made of woven geotextile or a polythene sheet. Permanent fences can be made from galvanised sheets of steel of some form of rigid plastic.
This guest post has been written by Mr. Andy Park, a leading conservation specialist. He recommends companies to use Newt Fencing to protect the great crested newt.