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Great Crested Newt

Comment 19th July 2010

For some years barriers have been put in the way of property development only to frustrate matters. A classic example of this is the inclusion of the Great Crested Newt within the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 and the Biodiversity Action Plan. It is claimed that the newt is endangered and regardless of the habitat of any site the potential for newts being present can be exaggerated and used as a reason to refuse sensible planning applications.

The fact is that the newt is found in ponds with ample aquatic vegitation and its questionable that they are in any way endangered at all. The Joint Nature Conservation Committee 'estimate' that there are some 400,000 newts in 18,000 breeding sites around the country but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognise that they can't count all of them so there are bound to be millions of the little creatured in ponds up and down the country that no one can count. There are reckoned to be 30,000 in the old Orton brickworks pit in Peterborough alone!!!

In any Planning Application you have to provide a Habitat Survey so why have more hurdles than you need. The process should be simplified with less spurious reasons for a refusal.

Clearly there are more than just newts that should be cleared from the Planning system but I thought I'd start at a popular misconception that i believe was only placed there by self-serving NIMBY's

Why does this matter?

There are enough ludicrous bits of legislation attached to property development and its about time they were cleared away. The 'Green Belt' policy should have been modernised/managed/updated decades ago. I'm not suggesting an open book but why do you allow the Butcher, Baker & Candlestick Maker determin what should achieve planning. What special powers do they have. Just because they have the time to join their little 'club' doesn't mean they should have the power to determin our lives, they should leave it up the the professional planners.


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