Project Name: Thame Market

Location: Thame, Oxfordshire

Tasks: Preliminary Ecological Appraisal Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey, great crested newt eDNA and District Licence

Project Overview:Prime Environment undertook an initial extended phase 1 habitat assessment as part of a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal which identified the need for great crested newt presence/absence surveys at three ponds. The eDNA results were positive for one of the ponds which led to the process of registering the site under the new district licence for great crested newts. This saved the client from having to undertaken additional surveys and saved the project a delay.

Project Detail

Prime Environment were originally engaged by the client to undertake a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) of a parcel land within an arable field as part of a planning application for the relocation of the Thame livestock market.

The PEA identified potential breeding ponds within 500 m of the Site and suitable habitats to support great crested newts during the terrestrial part of their lifecycle. Further surveys in the form of eDNA were recommended at 3 ponds to identify the presence or likely absence of great crested newts. The results came back positive for one of the ponds.

During the time of the evaluation of the planning application by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) a new system of licencing for great crested newts was adopted in the South Midlands area called district licencing which is run by a company called Nature Space.

Through consultation with Nature Space, the LPA and the client it was concluded that the district licence offered the best solution for mitigation for this project. Prime Environment supplied Nature Space with the information they needed and completed the application on behalf of the client. The licence was successfully agreed in August 2018.

Nature Space’s South Midlands District Licence currently operates in Milton Keynes, Aylesbury Vale, Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and Oxford City. Please contact us with any questions about great crested newts and to find out if district licencing will be applicable or suitable for your proposals if located within these regions.

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