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Great Crested Newt - eDNA
The great crested newt Triturus Cristatus is an ecologically important species, protected under legislation within the UK. eDNA-based surveys of great crested newts are nationally recognised as an approved methodology for ecological impact assessments for the planning and development sector.
SureScreen Scientifics is a leading provider of GCN eDNA.
eDNA Survey Seasons
Great Crested Newt
Results for great crested newt eDNA surveys are only accepted by Natural England if the samples were collected between mid-April and late-June, however, we can analyse samples taken all year round for other applications.
Our analytical procedures strictly follow WC1067, the accepted and approved eDNA screening method by Natural England. We are an approved quality provider of eDNA GCN after actively participating in proficiency testing since its introduction. We're proud to say that we scored 100% in the latest proficiency test.
Our prices have remained the same great value since 2015. We also offer the kit and analysis separately meaning that if testing is no longer required, you will only pay for the cost of the kit, often resulting in large savings for you.
Receive results within 1, 3 or 10 working days with no requirement for pre-booking ahead of time. Our high capacity laboratory allows you to send kits back whenever they are ready, and we will ensure the results are sent within your selected deadline.
Buy Your Kit
We provide our sample kits separately to the cost of analysis. Each great crested newt eDNA collection kit includes everything required to collect a successful pond water sample.
- GCN eDNA Kit – £20 ex. VAT
Prices & Turnaround Times
Our analytical process is very sensitive, robust, and requires careful handling in a controlled laboratory environment. We offer three tiers of turnaround times, all tiers require the purchase of a kit and exclude VAT.
- Standard £120 per analysis 10 working days
- Fast Track £220 per analysis 3 working days
- Super Fast Track £320 per analysis 1 working day
Returning Your Kit for Analysis
We recommend returning kits by courier with APC, they have depots across the UK and the most convenient drop-off spot may be found here. We also accept hand-delivered kits between 07.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday, and by appointment 24/7. Please send completed kits back to our laboratory at:
Church Lane, Morley
Great Crested Newt eDNA FAQs
Why do you separate the cost of the kit and the analysis?
We have found over the years that on average 88% of kits come back to us. Kits don’t come back to us for several reasons such as ponds being dried up. However, if this happens to you, then it will have only cost you the price of the kit at £20.00 plus vat and the analysis is not charged.
How much does a GCN eDNA pond sampling kit cost?
- Each kit is priced at £20.00 +VAT
- Free delivery. If ordered before 13:00, kits will arrive the following working day.
How much does the analysis cost?
Once you have purchased your kit(s) and collected your samples you can send them back to the lab for analysis which is available at three different turnaround times:
- Super-Fast Track for a 1 working day turnaround: £320.00 +VAT
- Fast Track for a 3 working day turnaround: £220.00 +VAT
- Standard for a 10 working day turnaround: £120.00 +VAT
We will send through the results as soon as they become available. Unlike other laboratories, there is no need to pre-book analysis slots ahead of time. Simply send the kits back whenever you’re ready and we will guarantee to complete the analysis by requested turnaround deadline.
When can I collect a sample?
Natural England has defined the GCN eDNA sample collection period to coincide with great crested newt breeding and will accept samples collected between the 15th April to 30th June. Samples may be taken outside of this time, provided GCN activity is noted in the area. Dates outside of this can sometimes be accepted on a case by case basis with prior Natural England approval.
How many kits do I need per pond?
One kit is required for one pond up to approximately 1 hectare (2.5 acres). For ponds larger than this is it recommended to collect one kit per hectare. Generally, the most accepted way of collecting samples for a large pond of say 4 acres, is that two kits be used, one to collect 20 sub-samples around one half of the pond and the other kit to collect 20 sub-samples around the other half of the pond. These kits are analysed separately (and therefore charged at two kits and two analyses) as to not dilute the sample and give best chance to detect GCN DNA.
How do I collect a sample?
Samples should be collected following the technical advice note WC1067 as approved by Natural England. We provide a replicated version of this protocol in each sampling kit, with all of the details required to collect a viable sample. It is important to avoid collecting sediment, plant matter and algae when sampling, as these can interfere with the analysis. Inhibitors may be more concentrated within the sediment, leading to inaccurate results.
How long can I keep the kit before (and after) sampling, is there an expiry date?
Our kits are designed to last for three months from manufacture if kept in ambient or chilled conditions. Therefore, our kits are guaranteed to last the duration of the season. After sampling, kits can be kept for up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator or 2 weeks at ambient conditions. For best results, please try to sample and send back samples as soon as possible.
Do I need a purchase order (PO) when returning my kits?
Yes, we are unable to begin processing a sample without a purchase order provided on the sample collection form. This means that there might be a delay to sample processing.
Are you part of the GCN eDNA proficiency testing scheme?
SureScreen participates in the proficiency testing, have done since its birth in 2017 and were actively involved in setting the scheme up. Our results will be accepted by Natural England this season. We’re proud to say that we scored 100% in the latest proficiency test.
How do I return my kits to the laboratory?
Please send completed kits back to our laboratory by courier at:
SureScreen Scientifics Ltd, Morley Retreat, Church Lane, Morley, Derbyshire, DE7 6DE.
We also accept hand-delivered kits between 07.30 and 16.30 Monday to Friday, and by appointment 24/7. For a collection charge of £40 per batch, we can arrange sample collection from you with our preferred courier, APC. However, it may be logistically or financially beneficial to arrange the return courier service yourself.
How do I dispose of my unused kits?
Kit components can be disposed of or recycled according to your locally available recycling facilities. Sample preservative solution can be disposed of by pouring down the sink with copious amounts of water. If you would prefer, you can return kits to us for correct disposal.
Where can I find my results?
Once your results are available they will be sent to the email address provided on the sample collection form before the deadline. If you have not received your results before this date, make sure that you check your spam or junk email folder.
How do I interpret the results?
A positive result is indicative of GCN presence at the time of sampling or within the 3-4 weeks (GCN eDNA degrades to below detectable levels between 7-21 days). A negative result suggests that there are no great crested newts within the sample area. Inconclusive results are rare, however, indicates that although GCN DNA has not been detected there may be some underlying degradation or inhibition which could be affecting the interpretation of results. This could be due to sediment, algae or plant matter within the sample, or an unusually high concentration of inhibitory molecules within the pond water. For inconclusive results, it is recommended that analysis is repeated with a fresh sample from the site in question.
Can I send you another company’s kit to analyse?
We are unable to analyse kits manufactured by other eDNA service providers as we would not be able to detect their DNA spike to check for degradation.