Fears over toads' future

TOAD lovers today told of their fears that the UK's biggest known population of Bufo Bufo - the common toad - is under threat from development.Volunteers who saved more than 4,400 toads from being squashed under the wheels of cars and trucks as they crossed Bobbits Lane during the migration season earlier this year are now worried they will perish when houses are built nearby.

TOAD lovers today told of their fears that the UK's biggest known population of Bufo Bufo - the common toad - is under threat from development.

Volunteers who saved more than 4,400 toads from being squashed under the wheels of cars and trucks as they crossed Bobbits Lane during the migration season earlier this year are now worried they will perish when houses are built nearby.

Ipswich Borough Council has outline planning permission from Babergh District Council for an 11-acre site near the Thorington Hall development at Pinewood and is in the process of carrying out an ecological survey into the possibility of future construction on the site.

But a band of volunteers who carry out the annual toad patrol in the area to save migrating toads from being killed as they cross Bobbits Lane on the way to and from their breeding grounds fear that they may be wiped out if construction goes ahead.


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Margaret Regnault, a long-time volunteer for the Greenways Project who has played a leading role in the toad patrols, said: “The population could be absolutely decimated.

“The area has a proven wildlife value. There has to be a balance between wildlife and building.”

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The Evening Star reported in April that this year's toad patrols had handled more toads than ever before, suggesting the toad population in the Bobbits Lane area was thriving.

The relocation of 4,401 toads this year even warranted a mention on BBC Radio 4's World on the Move natural history series this month.

Ipswich Borough Council said it was looking into the impact development would have on the toads.

A council spokesman said: “We do have outline planning permission for the site. We are carrying out an ecological survey to assess the situation.”

Jules Howard of the national wildlife charity Froglife said the Bobbits Lane toad population was the largest of the 697 recorded in the UK. He said the construction of houses could have a major impact on the population.

“If a site is surrounded by human development and infrastructure then that makes the population more fragile,” he said.

“The common toad has suffered quite badly in these terms because they are very slow in populating new areas.”

Are you worried about the future of the toads? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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