Newt to worry about

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

GREAT crested newts may have only been a tiny clause in last week’s Hous­ing White Pa­per, but the lit­tle crea­tures are a big headache for de­vel­op­ers and landown­ers who need a li­cence to re­move the pro­tected am­phib­ians. Now, at last, a truce is in sight. The Gov­ern­ment has backed a Nat­u­ral Eng­land scheme, al­ready op­er­at­ing in Wok­ing, Sur­rey, in which newt strongholds will be sur­veyed and habi­tat en­hanced or cre­ated be­fore build­ing be­gins. Wildlife Trusts Di­rec­tor Stephen Trot­ter says it’s ‘great news for newts’ and Hous­ing Min­is­ter Gavin Bar­well adds: ‘This will not only en­sure the con­tin­ued pro­tec­tion of this rare species, but will safe­guard de­vel­op­ers from de­lays, costs and un­cer­tainty.’

The CLA sug­gests the scheme should ap­ply to other build­ing stop­pers such as bats and dormice. Last week, the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund gave £3.8 mil­lion to­wards re­solv­ing the stand­off be­tween bat con­ser­va­tion­ists and church­go­ers who are fed up with clear­ing up the fly­ing mam­mals’ cor­ro­sive mess.

Pro­pos­als in­clude ul­tra­sonic-emis­sion de­vices to de­ter bats from parts of the church, build­ing bat boxes, es­tab­lish­ing a vol­un­teer net­work and pro­mot­ing tol­er­ance and har­mony be­tween church and bat com­mu­ni­ties. KG

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