Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis was approved by Natural England in 2014 for the determination of Great Crested Newt (GCN) presence or absence. Water samples are tested to determine if GCN DNA is present within water bodies.
eDNA is rapid and cost-effective when compared to conventional methods. It also has a longer survey window – analysis can be done until the end of June.
eDNA can give an early indication of project budgets and programmes (for projects with long lead-in times). It can also give an early indication of mitigation requirements, allowing better project planning e.g. where additional land is required for mitigation.
Studies have shown that eDNA is more effective at detecting newts than individual ‘traditional’ survey methods (torch counts, bottle trapping and egg searches) over the course of the survey season.
Natural England will only accept eDNA results from laboratories participating in annual eDNA proficiency testing. We are the only laboratory to correctly identify all ‘blind’ samples as positive, negative, or indeterminate in all eDNA proficiency tests since 2017.
Watch our video on collecting a water sample for eDNA testing