An ecologist at environmental consultancy Harris Lamb has been awarded with a Licence to conduct surveys into great crested newts 

Josh Randhawa, who joined the business’ Environmental department a year ago, has been awarded a Class 1 Licence to survey the protected species.

 Although great crested newts (GCNs) are widespread throughout most of England, Scotland and Wales, their population numbers have declined dramatically.  GCNs, their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are, as a result, fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended), with environmental professionals requiring a Licence from Natural England to survey for them without any legal ramifications

To qualify for the licence, Josh was required to demonstrate identification, newt ecology and legislation knowledge and experience in surveying the species,

Josh said: “My Harris Lamb colleagues have helped me achieve this licence through extensive in-house training, and by accompanying them on site, I’ve been fortunate to get lots of hands-on experience with the different survey techniques.

“The timing couldn’t be better as we’re now entering the GCN survey season, with developers relying on inspections being carried out ahead of plans being submitted to avoid delays to a project.

“Even more importantly, with the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management having ruled that surveys can continue throughout this time providing appropriate social distancing measures are followed, the more members of our team qualified to operate alone, the better,” he added.

 Josh’s next goal is to attain his bat licence.