Newts are tricky things though aren’t they?
Great crested newts may well be in the sights of the government as it reviews the Habitats Regulations on George Osborne’s instructions so that we can all be rich again. There is a better case than most to say that the great crested newt is bringing the economy to its knees because it is an offence to ‘recklessly disturb’ a great crested newt and the great crested newt is a quite widespread species across the UK (even if you and I have never seen one – or have you?).
Any old housing estate or factory that is planned might run up an aggressive newt or two and it certainly seems like you have to jump through quite a few hoops to be newt-compliant.
A report from Natural England last year, with the work done by Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, confirms that great crested newts are declining but also that they are still widespread. Although great crested newts are scurrying around in flower rich fields they do need ponds and the decline in number and quality of ponds in the countryside is a concern for all newt-lovers (except, probably, right-wing Americans).
Pond Conservation‘s Million Ponds Project is the sort of thing that is needed in order to save great crested newts from ongoing declines. Maybe it’s the time for developers to put a few million quid into pond restoration?
I have heard quite a few developers moaning about newts and quite a few conservationists showing a lot of sympathy for these concerns. Might there be a deal to be done that would involve throwing the newts (or some newts) to the wolves of Frances Maude and George Osborne (actually, Maude does look a bit wolf-like whereas Osborne is clearly a weasel) in order to save the rest of the natural world and allow government to save some face ?
Newt’s moving on to Florida – pastures newt?