DNA tests for Great Crested Newts

The season for great crested newt surveys is about to start. Traditional surveys can be done from mid-March, but at least 2 of the 4 visits must be between mid-April and mid-May. However, there is a new technique which we started to use last year, which involves testing the pond water for eDNA of the species. The technique is approved for presence / absence tests by Natural England. Only one visit is needed for eDNA tests, and the visit must be between mid-April and the end of June. Please contact us for further details. There are currently 3 UK laboratories who do the test, but the samples must be taken using a special kit which is bought from the labs. There are a range of different fees charged by the supplier, but costs appear to be going down as the market expands. Last year we paid £500 for a test from FERA; this year it is around £300 from ADAS. The kit is ethanol-based, which causes some additional cost in courier costs.