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North Merseyside Biodiversity Action Plan
Great Crested Newt Triturus cristatus
1 Current status
1.1 National & international
The Great Crested Newt is still widespread in Britain but has suffered a decline since the 1940s with an estimated colony loss of 2% over five years in the 1980s. Britain probably contains the largest population in Europe, it is estimated that there are 50,000–100,000 occupied Great Crested Newt ponds in the whole of Britain.
The Great Crested Newt is listed on Annex IIa and IVa of the EU Habitats and Species Directive, Appendix II of the Berne Convention and Schedules 5 and 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals as Lower Risk: conservation dependent.
Although present across northwest England, there is currently no population estimate for the whole of North Merseyside.
Between 1995 and 1998, the Pond Life Project undertook a survey of 1000 ponds in the Northwest. Of these 500 were north of the Mersey although no sites surveyed were within the boroughs of Sefton, Knowsley, St Helens or Liverpool. The Pond Life survey showed that 25% of ponds in the northern part of the survey area contained Great Crested Newts. Furthermore, in some urban areas (e.g. Wigan) the percentage of occupied ponds was higher.
Great Crested Newt surveys have been carried out on Ainsdale Sand Dunes NNR in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2006. Evidence of Great Crested Newt occupation was found in 31 ponds and temporary slacks.
In 2004/05 the North Merseyside Amphibian & Reptile Group carried out a survey of the Sefton coast. Many of the ponds between Freshfield and Birkdale contained both adults and tadpoles.