Newt tunnels get thumbs up

Russell Goodchild of Heritage Environmental.
Russell Goodchild of Heritage Environmental.

A Scottish property developer has devised innovative plans that will protect the current population of newts and help them grow in number. The scheme has been approved by Scottish National Heritage.
The plans will include an underpass under the new proposed link road for the newts to use and an expansion of the nearby local nature reserve.
Banks Property has been granted a ‘Great Crested Newt Development Licence’ by SNH (allowing the construction of 1,040 new homes in Glenboig, North Lanarkshire. The great crested newts will be re-located during the construction phase and then re-introduced to the new specially designed habitat after construction has finished.
Scottish Natural Heritage, the government body responsible for the conservation of Scotland’s wildlife, granted the licence to the Hamilton based developer following a detailed application which confirmed that the development will not affect the favourable conservation status of the species.
Scott Knowles is a senior ecologist with Heritage Environmental Limited (HEL), ecological consultants to Banks Property.
He said: “To be granted the licence to allow works to build in an area inhabited by a rare species protected by the European Commission highlights the commendable ecological focus at Banks Property.
“The team has gone to great lengths to show that through detailed habitat creation and management the amphibian population could continue to thrive in years to come.
“The agreed expansion to the nearby local nature reserve and the underpass to the proposed link road will also ensure continued connectivity between the protected nature reserve and the wider countryside – a key consideration for great crested newt populations which have suffered from isolation in the past.
HEL assisted Banks Property in creating a Great Crested Newt Species Protection Plan that was agreed following consultation with SNH.
The document includes details of all mitigation measures that will be undertaken in relation to the development, including the provision of newt underpasses. It also includes details of extensions Banks will make to the local nature reserve that will provide a new habitat which will be designed and managed for the benefit of the newts and other amphibians.
Great crested newts have been subject to significant habitat loss since WWII when there was a huge amount of change in how land was managed, which is why they are now protected by European and UK legislation.