Thursday, February 14, 2008

The cost of Newts

Cheshire County Council is calling for a review of EU legislation after being forced to spend £60,000 to move four newts from a school development site. Great crested newts are an endangered species and are protected by EU law.

When four were found on land at Fallibroome High School, Macclesfield, they had to be trapped, moved and have a new pond built to house them. Councillor Barrie Hardern called the £60,000 cost of the scheme before the school could build "ludicrous".

When the amphibians were found on the site where the school wanted to build new sports facilities and an extension a costly mitigation exercise had to be undertaken which meant a new habitat had to be built.

Natural England, the government body charged with protecting the newts said it is important to look after every colony no matter how small.

But Mr Harden said: "I find it extraordinary that the law requires public money to be spent at such a ludicrous level."

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