Newt to worry about
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