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.”