Friends of Thorpe Woodlands Press Release:
Local Wildlife Groups and MP call for the protection of Norwich Woodland after discovery of rare Great Crested Newts
The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands are pleased to make an exciting announcement concerning the discovery of a rare species in this threatened woodland.
Over the last two months the Friends together with groups such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the Norfolk Amphibian & Reptile Group have identified and monitored a small population of Great Crested Newts in the eastern area of the woodland.
Local MP Chloe Smith together with local councillors’ residents and members of the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands will be announced the good news at Thorpe Woods on the 27th April. They called for the woods to be saved from development and preserved as a green space for local people.
Site threatened by development and possible link road
The area of the wood in which the Great Crested Newt population has been discovered falls directly in the path of one of the possible routes being considered by Broadland District Council for a link road between Salhouse Road and Plumstead Road.
In addition to calling for the protection of the woods in their entirety The Friends together with local politicians are calling for the alternate route to be selected which would run to the east of the woods thus avoiding any damage (for your chance to say NO to this development please see below).
Norfolk Amphibian & Reptile Group & Norfolk Wildlife Trust
Philip Parker of the Norfolk Amphibian & Reptile Group together with Helen Baczkowska of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust have positively identified Great Crested Newts on the site. Helen Baczkowska said that this site “must not be built upon” and “Finding Great Crested Newts at Thorpe Woods is exciting indeed. Newts rely on good habitats on land as well as in ponds, so this helps to demonstrate that Thorpe Woods are an outstanding place for wildlife and deserve to be protected and managed as such. Norwich is so lucky to have such a remarkable place just outside the city and it should remain so, for the wild species that live there and for the people who enjoy the quiet and wildness of the place.”
Great Crested Newt Conservation status
Great crested newts are fully protected under UK and European legislation:
• Bern Convention 1979: Appendix III
• Wildlife & Countryside Act (as Amended) 1981: Schedule 5
• EC Habitats Directive 1992: Annex II and IV
• Conservation (Natural Habitats etc.) Regulations 1994: Schedule 2
• Countryside Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW 2000)
Because great crested newts are listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, Section 9(1) of the Act makes it an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take great crested newts. Section 9(2) makes it an offence to possess or control a live or dead great crested newt or any part or thing derived from them. Section 9(4) makes it an offence to intentionally damage, destroy, obstruct access to, any structure or place which great crested newts use for shelter or protection. It is also an offence to intentionally disturb them while occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose. Section 9(5) makes it an offence to sell, offer or expose for sale, or possess or transport for the purpose of sale, any live or dead great crested newt or any part or thing derived from them. It is also an offence to publish or cause to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that great crested newts, or parts or derived things of them are bought, sold or are intended to be. Section 9 applies to all stages in their life cycle.
Their inclusion on Schedule 2 of the Conservation Regulations 1994 affords great crested newts extra protection by also making it an offence under Regulation 39(1) to deliberately capture, kill or disturb great crested newts or to deliberately take or destroy their eggs, or damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place. Regulation 39(2) makes it an offence to keep, or transport, or exchange great crested newts or any part or thing derived from them. Paragraphs 39(1) and 39(2) apply to all stages of their life cycle.
This level of legal protection allows areas to be designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and/or Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) for the presence of great crested newts. These designations bring legal restrictions to the management and operations that can occur in such sites, to help conserve the great crested newt and the specific habitats it requires.
The maximum fine on conviction of offences is currently £5,000. The CRoW Act amended the 1981 Act to allow for a custodial sentence of up to six months instead of, or in addition to, a fine. Fines may be imposed in relation to each offence committed, so operations involving many animals or repeated offences can potentially accrue large fines. In addition, items or equipment, which may constitute evidence of the commission of an offence, may be seized and detained. The CRoW Act also amends the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to render Section 9 offences ‘arrestable’, giving the police significant additional powers.