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By ATWadmin On May 17th, 2008

TcMaleSide.jpgDid you read that Leicestershire County Council wasted £1 MILLION delaying a major road-building scheme for three months after evidence of great crested newts was found on the site. The species is protected by EU law, but after the authority paid hundreds of thousands of pounds for special newt-fencing and traps, not one of the rare creatures was discovered. The action was taken on the strength of a report from environmental experts, which found there could have been between one and 10 of the 6in amphibians on the site.

Officials yesterday lodged a complaint with the government, claiming the outlay would have a knock-on effect on local services. The council leader David Parsons said: "I’m not happy that we have gone a million pounds over on the bypass and then found no great crested newts. "It’s completely unacceptable. I’ve written to the minister concerned, and all he can say to me is that it’s because of European Union regulations."

The possible colony was found near the £15 million Earl Shilton bypass in Leicester during surveys last summer. A 1,000-yard exclusion zone was erected around ponds while further tests were carried out and hundreds of thousands of pounds was spent on newt-proof fences and traps to move the amphibians when hibernation ended in spring. Workers were even required to inspect the traps twice a day once temperatures rose above 41F (5C).  But Derek Needham, council engineering manager, confirmed yesterday: "We have caught a number of normal newts but no great crested newts."

Officials at the council, which commissioned the road, could have faced a large fine or even jail if they had failed to protect a colony.

It seems to me that the EU bully boy environmental legislation which drives this utter financial madness needs scrapped, but it won’t. So the only way for the UK to stop pursuing these amphibian follies is to get OUT of the rancid EU swamp now.

18 Responses to “NO NEWTS IS BAD NEWS…”

  1. David

    The local council obviously got this wrong. But if it was not for EU directives we would still be drinking polluted water, throwing 100% of our trash into landfill and our coastal seas would be full of untreated sewage.

  2. I blame Ken Livingstone. He’s a newt lover isn’t he ?

  3. The header made me think you were going to skewer Newt Gingrich, shame it’s about actual lizards. I could’ve really dug into a good Newt roast. (he’s the latest gop guy on my shit list)

  4. Daphne

    I thought Newt Gingrich was an old has been. Who takes any notice of him anymore ?

  5. David –

    As I said under your previous great crested newt post (wasn’t it £60,000 per newt there?) this is a scam. Property development is the business I’m in and can tell you that there are millions of the bloody things all over the country.

    A very well respected ecologist let on thet it’s a scam and a damned lucrative one. Well, he gave a wry smile when I asked him directly if that’s the case.

    The method is simple: ecologists lobby politicians and get GCNs registered as a ‘green book species’. Developers pay ecologosts to survey for GCNs prior to development. Developers pay ecologists to trap GCNs when ecologists say they’re in evidence. Ecologists laugh every inch of the way to the bank.

  6. Colm, everyone in the media – his opinion pieces and fat face are in the news constantly.

  7. That figures, Pete.

  8. I have heard stories about eco loons planting evidence of endangered species in order to halt building projects.

  9. Property development is the business I’m in and can tell you that there are millions of the bloody things all over the country.

    Much better to exterminate the lot of them, eh Pete? And any other species that gets in your way. And while we’re at it, let’s ditch all the commie planning laws, green-belts etc as well.

    Then we can create a country fit for property developers like you to live in.

  10. Daphne

    I wasn’t aware he was still a prominent figure. We never here of him over here.

  11. Colm, count yourself lucky.

  12. Peter –

    Much better to exterminate the lot of them, eh Pete?

    Not really. It would be much better if government stopped obliging corporatist pretendy ecologists out to make alot of money based on lies. The GCNs scarper at a footstep anyway, let alone heavy building plant, so very few would suffer.

    Much better also to do as David Vance advocates – leave the EU and become a self-governing people again.

  13. Pete

    I entirely agree with your 10.47pm comment.

  14. Pete

    It’s not the EU. Even if the UK was independent it would still have to regulate development. That’s what you uber-rightists can’t accept. You want developers to have a totally free hand.

  15. Peter –

    Developers could never have a free hand. Even without planning development controls, they could develop only on land that they own or have permission to develop from the owner. Restrictions would also come from whatever the market wanted, since developers don’t develop that which has no demand, and by the ability of developers to access finance. So there’s no such thing as a free hand.

    Mind you, a less restricted hand in the recent past – for better or worse on other levels – would have resulted in more realistic house prices in the last 15 years and allowed many more people to buy a home than otherwise has been the case, since development controls have greatly restricted the number of units built.

    Surely you acknowledge that?

  16. Pete

    I agree. House-building has been too restricted by planning laws. But would you agree that developers are always looking to build on greenfield as opposed to brownfield?

  17. Peter –

    I’d say that the default position of developers is to prefer greenfield over brownfield, but we’re only going to where a buck is to be made. It’s unfortunate and certainly perverse and I’ll explain why.

    Land is a scarce resource which ought to be used efficiently. Greenfield development is attractive to developers in that we have a ‘blank slate’ – no previous contamination to clear up (‘the polluter pays’ is the rightful principal now but the polluter can’t always be found or made to pay). Large chunks of land in single ownership negate the hassle of land assembly. There are far fewer rights over the land (e.g pertaining to access) to discover and account for compared to brownfield land, which has often had uses and rights building up on it for centuries. Brownfield land also often comes with odd zoning designations which don’t dovetail with market demands whereas greenfield land coming forward is often stamped with a convenient allocation (e.g. ‘residential’ – nice, simple and profitable) etc etc etc, yada yada yada.

    In short, greenfield development is often a doddle compared to brownfield, which can be a right pain in the backside. Admittedly, developers do go for the easier profit, but we all do and the reasons why it’s often an easier profit do sometimes lie with state interference in development.

    There’s another reason why we go for it – tax.

    Greenfield development doesn’t attract VAT whereas brownfield development often does. Why refurbish an old building and be hit by tax, when you can build new and not pay it? Really, it often is the critical difference for developers, who after all must decide how to invest their funds most profitably.

    The perversity level increases when you consider that brownfield sites are already serviced for water, drainage, power, roads etc. Upgrading these services is usually uneconomical compared to putting in wholly new services to greenfield sites because of the ludicrous tax regime. The development industry has long lobbied the Treasury on this and it’s one of the few occasions when it’ll be united with ecologists and conservationists, but the Treasury doesn’t want to know.

  18. Pete

    Thanks for that. But surely new-build residential is Vat exempt whether it’s on brownfield or greenfield?

    I’ve long thought that a simple way to drastically reduce the "garden-grab" developments whould be to re-designate gardens from brownfield to greenfield. That would make it much harder to get planning permission, which is almost automatic under the current rules, despite the undesirable consequences of over-development.