Newts could be the major stumbling block

GREAT crested newts were today back in the spotlight as being one of the last remaining hurdles standing in the way of SnOasis.Developers Onslow Suffolk have so far failed to agree with Natural England on how the protected species should be moved from the former quarry at Great Blakenham earmarked for the giant indoor ski slope and that disagreement is threatening to stall progress for the winter sports resort.

Grant Sherlock

GREAT crested newts were today back in the spotlight as being one of the last remaining hurdles standing in the way of SnOasis.

Developers Onslow Suffolk have so far failed to agree with Natural England on how the protected species should be moved from the former quarry at Great Blakenham earmarked for the giant indoor ski slope and that disagreement is threatening to stall progress for the winter sports resort.

A new round of discussions is set to be launched on the subject after the government gave its conditional backing to SnOasis.


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Natural England said today that the plight of the great crested newts remained its only objection to SnOasis but a spokesman said there was still “a lot of work to be done” before it was convinced enough was being done to protect the newts.

And without a licence from Natural England to move the newts, work cannot go ahead.

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The Natural England spokesman said: “What they've got on the table isn't satisfactory.”

Onslow Suffolk has already employed expert ecologists to draw up a plan of creating mitigation areas where newts could be moved.

However Natural England says the current plans do not go far enough and the mitigation areas will not be sufficient to guarantee the future health of the site's newt population - and the Secretary of State has backed Natural England's stance.

“We'd like to see the newts move to areas that are as good as what they're leaving behind,” the Natural England spokesman said.

“If Onslow Suffolk are unable to come up with a mitigation strategy that satisfies the requirements that might cause a delay.”

Great crested newts need land with natural ponds and loose rubble to thrive.

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