We’re working with Network Rail to protect great crested newts

Great Crested Newts are in decline and are listed as a European Protected Species.

Natalie Eyre
Written by:

Natalie Eyre

These nocturnal amphibians live most of their life on land, but move to aquatic breeding sites in spring.  Their main threat is habitat loss through changes in land use resulting in a decline of ponds.

When our clients, Network Rail, were working on Peascliffe Tunnel, near Grantham, they discovered some little lineside neighbours – Great Crested Newts (GCN). Network Rail work hard to preserve habitats and promote GCN population numbers on their infrastructure. They were granted a licence by Natural England to work in the area populated by the newts.

One condition of the licence specified that an ecologist must be on site for when construction work took place, in order to identify and move the newts to a safe area.  Enter Ecus and our Consultant Ecologist, Fran Thorley!

The works had to be scheduled before December to ensure that hibernating newts weren’t disturbed.  The licence also said that Network Rail had to build two hibernacula for the nearby newts to have a safe place to spend the winter.  Network Rail employees worked closely with Fran to build the hibernacula, which involved digging pits and filling them with rubble and timber of varying sizes to create lots of voids and gaps for the newts. The pits were then covered with soil and turf, creating an ideal habitat for the newts to safely spend the winter months.