August 8, 2008

‘We’Ll Keep Fighting to Save Newts’

An Ecologist will be appointed to help determine the future of the great crested newt at a holiday park in North Lincolnshire.

An investigation into the habitat of the newt has been completed at Seven Lakes Country Park, off Wharf Ealand, after developers put in plans for the lakes.

But the results suggest the channel is not suitable for the breeding of the species.

As previously reported, Glen Keedy wanted to widen the north channel.

But concerned nature lovers were worried for the lesser spotted amphibians they claim live on the site, and called for a survey of the area before any plans were agreed.

The finished survey, carried out by professional ecologists at Lapwings Consultants Ltd - an arm of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust - says: "The channel is not suitable for the breeding of great crested newts. There is no vegetation suitable for egg-laying and the water, which flows, is used by many large fish.

"The bank and adjacent vegetation is not suitable for newts to use for sheltering, as it's too open and there is no cover.

"If newts are present in the wider Seven Lakes site, they may forage over this area at night, but would not be present during the day."

Plans have been re-submitted following the 'negative' results.

But residents continue to battle for the truth and welcome an independent review.

Crowle Town councillor Jim Rhodes said: "The survey is clearly disappointing for Crowle and Ealand, because residents here have seen newts.

"But we are not going to give up the fight. We would like to see more evidence of the investigations which took place. Have they gone and counted them or have they only looked in the daytime, when great crested newts are less apparent?

"Who is the council going to believe - residents or this report?

"We look forward to a proper independent study."

As previously reported, worried wildlife enthusiasts have an anxious four-week wait to see what North Lincolnshire planning officials make of the survey. They will appoint an ecologist to analyse the survey to see whether a rare species could be under threat before a final decision is made.

Mike Welton, head of planning at North Lincolnshire Council, said: "The application has been re-submitted because a full ecological survey has been completed. We will get our ecologist to look at those results before we consider the planning application."

(c) 2008 Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.