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GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

This is a Press Information page entitled GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000 within the Press / News Items section of Caudata.org --- LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH (Blackburn, UK) 26 December 08 Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000 Searches for the elusive great crested newt have cost council taxpayers more than ...

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Old 29th December 2008   #1 (permalink)
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Default GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

LANCASHIRE TELEGRAPH (Blackburn, UK) 26 December 08 Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000
Searches for the elusive great crested newt have cost council taxpayers more than £165,000 ($US 242,600; Euro 171,000), it can be revealed.
Council bosses say the protected creatures are a “planning nightmare” with costly surveys needed before work on new schools and roads can begin.
Some schemes have also faced hefty delays because surveys can only take place at certain times of year.
But wildlife lovers say the newts, which have special EU and government protection, need to be looked after.
County councillor Tony Martin, cabinet member for resources, said: “They are on the EU endangered list. We normally don’t find them, but the thing is, you can never prove that they’re not there. It’s not cheap and sometimes it takes 12 months if you’re doing a full ecological impact survey.
“I am sure they are lovely creatures, but from a planning point of view it’s an absolute nightmare.”
Susie Squire, campaign manager at the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: “A lot of taxpayers’ money has been spent on these newts. While it is important to protect the natural environment, at a time when councils should be doing all they can to deliver savings to ordinary families and improve frontline services, it does seem excessive to spend so much on a special interest project. This money could have been put to much better use, and questions need to be asked about the spending priorities of Lancashire County Council.”
But Burnley Friends of the Earth representative Avril Hefton said: “It is important that they’re protected.
“They have to see if there’s anything that shouldn’t be disturbed before they start building. Newts are rare, and are not like birds that can just fly away at the first sight of a bulldozer. They have to hop and walk and will get squashed”.
A County Hall report said Lancashire was one of very few natural habitats in the country for great crested newts.
Surveys can only be undertaken from February to May, because of the animals’ breeding season.
Bosses say searching for newts and other species are one of the reasons the council’s capital programme, which includes all its major building projects, is becoming more complex and taking longer.
A Freedom of Information request by the Lancashire Telegraph revealed £165,970 has been spent carrying out newt surveys across the county in recent years.
The council also revealed that during the construction of the Eaves Green Link Road in Chorley two licensed consultants carried out assessments over four years. Special fences and “newt tunnels” were set up at a cost of almost £30,000.
One project in Lancaster was delayed by 14 months, including the building of a special shelter, when just seven great crested newts were found.
And 34 land reclamation projects, where derelict sites are prepared for redevelopment under the £21million REMADE scheme, have included newt surveys at a cost of almost £50,000.
These included projects at Nelson Street in Darwen, Peel Park, Hyndburn, the planned “green way “ between Great Harwood and Burnley and a hilltop above Haslingden. On some occasions, no newts were found at all.
More cash has also been spent carrying out newt surveys by Blackburn with Darwen council, although precise figures are not available.
Adam Scott, strategic director of regeneration and environment, said: "With every development, we have to make sure that it doesn't affect the natural and bio-diversity of our environment. Protecting important rare species such as great crested newts is a really important part of this.
“Our job is not only to make sure that we build quality buildings but also protect and safeguard our natural environment. Developers have to take this into account, as do our planners, when they are looking at planning applications."
http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk...ers___165_000/



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Old 29th December 2008   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

Interesting is that they never tell what the costs of the project are...working for a Dutch ministry for Traffic and Transport I know that the costs of nature are mostly less than 1% of the total budget.... Archeology (Malta Treaty) costs mostly much more (up to 5%) of the total budget. Everything is relative ;-)



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Old 29th December 2008   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

I think its money well spent!



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Old 29th December 2008   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

£165,000 is not all that much out of a county's budget over a number of years (the article doesn't specify what 'recent years' actually means!)
I still hate the way that development simply goes ahead once the crested newts have been moved, destroying all the other unprotected taxa using the same habitat. There should, in my opinion, be more emphasis on protecting the habitat, even from influencial developing organisations, than on just getting newts out of the way and putting them somewhere else......




Last edited by froggy; 29th December 2008 at 18:49. Reason: replaced 'animals' with 'taxa'
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Old 29th December 2008   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

Well while no one really likes a recession, it should nobble 75% of business building and at least some public building for the next few years. There's almost always a silver lining.

It's a shame newts aren't a bit more "palatable" to the general population - they're viewed incorrectly as slimy, ugly things that couldn't possibly be of use to anyone but Ken Livingston. It's a pity that there are so many unknowing self-assured people in the world.

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Originally Posted by froggy View Post
£165,000 is not all that much out of a county's budget over a number of years (the article doesn't specify what 'recent years' actually means!)
I still hate the way that development simply goes ahead once the crested newts have been moved, destroying all the other unprotected taxa using the same habitat. There should, in my opinion, be more emphasis on protecting the habitat, even from influencial developing organisations, than on just getting newts out of the way and putting them somewhere else......



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Old 30th December 2008   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: GBR Press: Newts cost Lancashire taxpayers £165,000

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Originally Posted by John View Post
It's a shame newts aren't a bit more "palatable" to the general population - they're viewed incorrectly as slimy, ugly things that couldn't possibly be of use to anyone but Ken Livingston. It's a pity that there are so many unknowing self-assured people in the world.
I'd agree with you there John, we need to get some sort of a world wide understanding going. Forget teaching Triginometery, tell them the god dang difference between reptiles and amphibians, what they are actually like rather than the fact that they're associated with witches and warts, and how important they are as indicator species aswell as their many other abilitys and unique traits.



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