Search

A newts nuisance halts hotel development

PUBLISHED: 10:16 04 July 2008 | UPDATED: 20:46 05 July 2010

THE discovery of one of Britain's rarest creatures has stopped work on a £2.3m hotel development in Lowestoft.

Work began earlier this year on a new Travelodge hotel at Leisure Way, off Yarmouth Road, but following the discovery of great crested newts on the site all the heavy machinery has been removed and construction halted.

THE discovery of one of Britain's rarest creatures has stopped work on a £2.3m hotel development in Lowestoft.

Work began earlier this year on a new Travelodge hotel at Leisure Way, off Yarmouth Road, but following the discovery of great crested newts on the site all the heavy machinery has been removed and construction halted.

Before the construction work began on the 47-room hotel a wildlife survey on the area was carried out and the newts were discovered around a pond.

With the help of members of Natural England and Suffolk Wildlife Trust the newts were captured using special traps and removed to suitable habitats elsewhere.

However, it has now been discovered that there are still newts on the site and a “stop order” has been served while attempts are made to capture and remove them.

Natural England amphibian specialist Jim Foster said: “Great crested newts are Britain's largest newt species, however they have suffered a major decline in numbers over the last century.

“This has been mainly due to loss of breeding sites through drainage of wetlands and loss of ponds suitable for breeding. The loss of grassland, scrub and woodland means that there are fewer opportunities for foraging, dispersal and hibernation. Newt habitats have also become increasingly fragmented through development.”

Mr Foster said that although new ponds are being created there is a long way to go before they compensate numerically for the massive 20th century loss.

“Sites such as the ones at Lowestoft are therefore vital in the survival of this species,” he said.

The great crested newt is Britain's largest newt species and can grow up to 17cm long and live for up to 27 years.

The population of these amphibians has plummeted in recent years as their habitat has disappeared but Suffolk is one of their strongholds.

Great crested newts are officially recognised as an endangered species and protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

It is an offence to disturb them in any way, kill or harm them, or cause damage to their habitat. The creatures spend most of the year around weedy ponds and small lakes. They are nocturnal and hide during the day in burrows or under logs, stones and vegetation.

The Lowestoft hotel is part of an £18.4m project involving five new premises being built by Travelodge in the UK this year.

Other new Travelodge hotels being built by the national chain include those at Chester, Torquay, Wolverhampton and Aberdeen.

A company spokesperson said the Lowestoft hotel would provide employment opportunities and help boost the local economy.

It is hoped that the new hotel will be able to open on schedule when the newts have been safely removed from the Lowestoft site.

“We recognise the importance of preserving the local ecology in Lowestoft and are happy to be working with the wildlife trust to ensure the safe removal of newts from our site.

“We have experienced a delay to the building schedule but Lowestoft Travelodge is still expected to open just in time for Christmas 2008,” said a spokesperson.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Lowestoft Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists