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.