Newt fencing is a general term used to describe the barrier used to keep newts (usually great crested newts) away from specific areas of development.
This is because great crested newts are a protected species and must be taken into consideration on any development site where they are present – you can read more about their legal status on our great crested newt protected species page.
Newt fencing is most commonly temporary and is used to trap animals and remove them from an area or to exclude them from an area.
There are also semi-permanent and permanent forms of newt fencing. These are used to exclude animals over longer periods of time or permanently from particular areas.
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Other terms for newt fencing
Other terms for newt fencing include newt exclusion fencing, drift fencing, amphibian fencing, TAF (temporary amphibian fencing) and reptile fencing.
While newt fencing might vary depending on whether it is temporary or permanent, it follows a similar form and requires a trench to be dug and a short fence to be installed with a right angle return underground. The fencing material is flexible plastic (for temporary fencing) fixed to wooden stakes. Semi-permanent fencing is usually constructed with 1mm plastic panels and permanent fencing with HDPE or solid steel panels.
The trench can be dug using a trencher, mini digger or by hand depending on the ground conditions or if there are particular site sensitivities.
Sometimes pitfall traps are installed along the fencing if it is being used to trap and translocate animals.
Slow worm fencing is exactly the same as newt fencing but does not need to be installed under licence. For more information on the legal status of slow worms, please see our slow worm protected species page.
Maintenance of newt fencing
The licence to install the newt fence will also specify how long it needs to be in place. The fence will need to be newt-proof for the time specified on the licence and so will need to be checked on a regular basis and maintained if necessary including repairing and replacing sections. Fences are sometimes damaged by construction site machinery and by the general public.
Why is newt fencing necessary?
As great crested newts and their habitat are protected by law, it might be necessary for newt fencing to be installed on a site in order to fulfil planning conditions. The fencing will be installed to the specifications of a licence issued by Natural England (or another statutory body in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland). The specifications would normally be approved by an ecologist.
Using experienced newt fence installers means that you can be confident that the fencing will be suitable to adhere to the licence requirements.