Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ragwatch 1: Newts In The News

I have noticed that from both sides of the political chasm our daily rags are spouting the most inaccurate tosh about the environment.  One such this week from The Daily Telelaugh about newts was the best so far.  They are all at it though, The Indirrelevant, The Garbageian, The Daily Fail, Daily Excess, they’re all at it.  I will begin to highlight the choicest nonsense here under the title ‘Ragwatch’.

So first up is that classic snippet from The Daily Telelaugh.  Under the title ‘No Newts Is Good News’ we were told that great-crested newts are holding up the construction of a new shopping centre in York, featuring a Marks & Spencer and a John Lewis store.  Under protection laws”, we are told, “each one of the newts must be rehomed before work can begin”!

The inference is obvious, that newts are unimportant, the building of a new supermarket is a far more important thing, and the world would be a better place if there were indeed ‘No Newts’.  This is a matter of opinion, that is theirs while mine is that there are quite enough supermarkets around already.  What is unforgiveable though is the ludicrous claim that every single newt must be accounted for and rehoused before work can begin. 

If a development cannot be altered to incorporate the pond in question into the design, some mitigation is required.  This includes exclusion fences and pond creation to trap as many newts as possible for translocation to another suitable site. This does not need to be particularly large, and therefore several can often be incorporated or created close to the development site as part of its landscaping plan.  Not every newt will be caught, but enough will be so that the population survives.  The developer must bear the cost of this work of course, but it is necessary to adhere to several laws like the Wildlife and Countryside Act, and most are happy to be seen exhibiting their green credentials.  Without such laws more wildlife would likely disappear under digger and dumper wheels.

What seems to be irking The Daily Telelaugh is that the contractors could start now, but the inconsiderate newts are currently hibernating from the winter weather that would otherwise kill them.  It will be a few months before translocation can begin.  In the meantime I am sure there is a TESCO, Nisa, Spar, ASDA, etc, etc, nearby to ensure local people do not starve to death, and somewhere else they can buy a pair of trousers.


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