Archive for March, 2009

Yorkshire company given record fine for wildlife crime

Friday, March 13th, 2009
Great Crested Newt

Male Great Crested Newt

Yorkshire development company Vivendi Ltd have been fined £11,500 and ordered to pay court costs for destroying the habitat of protected great crested newts at a site in Filey. This is the largest single fine awarded for offences involving great crested newts.

Peter Nottage, Natural England’s regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber said “We are always disappointed and saddened when cases end up in court as it means wildlife habitat has already been lost or damaged.

We have repeatedly advised the developers how they could proceed with their plans whilst taking newts into account. We’re frustrated that the habitat destruction was just so unnecessary and has wasted a lot of time and resources. Hopefully today’s ruling will remind others in the construction industry to take protected species into account at an early stage.
We will continue to work in partnership with owners and occupiers across the country to ensure damage of this kind is limited.”
Mr Nottage continued “Thousands of great crested newt populations have been lost in the last century, many to developments built where newts were not considered. The law now protects declining species like the great crested newt, and many developers easily comply by getting early specialist advice, and by talking to us.

The case highlights the importance of early survey work, cooperation with the planning and licensing authorities and the need for proper consideration of protected species such as great crested newts.

EDF Energy Networks fined for damaging great crested newt habitat

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Natural England

EDF Energy have been fined for damaging great crested newt habitat at a site in Essex. EDF are a national utilities company providing green energy such as wind energy alongside traditional fuels. The following article is from the Natural England website.

On 6 March 2009 at Chelmsford Magistrates Court, EDF Energy Networks (EPN) PLC, were fined £1,000 with £90 costs after pleading guilty to damaging or destroying a resting place of great crested newts at an electricity infrastructure site in Stansted Mountfitchet, Essex.

The company had carried out an extension to their site following the construction of a new housing estate nearby without an ecological assessment. In 2006 a housing developer was convicted of a similar offence when they carried out works outside of the conditions of a licence issued to them by Natural England in respect of great crested newts.

Following the verdict, Natural England Wildlife Management Adviser for Essex, Paul Cantwell said: “This case highlights the importance of companies, including utility companies, of carrying out ecological assessments before undertaking works on sites where there may be protected species. It is not just large scale developments or projects that can have detrimental impacts on protected species, smaller scale work such as this can also be damaging.”

PC Andrew Long, the Wildlife Crime Co-ordinator for Essex Police said: “This case demonstrates that Essex Police, working with agencies such as Natural England can have a positive impact on wildlife crime. Essex Police will, where possible, investigate matters of wildlife crime, and if there is sufficient evidence refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service.”