May 4, 2022 8.30 pm

Free ponds in North Lincolnshire to preserve and build habitats for newts

Almost 200 have been made in the region in three years

An environmental consultancy group will be creating 20 ponds free of charge for landowners in North Lincolnshire this year for the benefit of great crested newts.

Wildscapes CIC was appointed by Natural England in 2019 as part of a district level licensing scheme for great crested newts (GCN). Since it was introduced, almost 200 ponds have been delivered in North Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

The scheme means that when a proposed development looks likely to impact on GCN habitats, an option for a quicker and simpler alternative to the GCN mitigation licence will be made available.

Wildscapes CIC aims to create these new ponds in suitable locations to allow for newts to thrive and survive. It is done through consultation from National England’s identified areas, local knowledge and records of great crested newts.

The work is deemed important as half the UK’s ponds were left during the 20th century, primarily due to the change in land use away from mixed farming, and the remaining ponds are still considered to be in poor condition.

The district level licensing scheme not only speeds up and simplifies the development process, but also aims to secure long term protection of the species and habitat.

Thanks to the success of the scheme, a further 20 ponds will be created in North Lincolnshire this year, and interested landowners are being encouraged to contact Wildscapes CIC to discuss potential sites for consideration.

Farmers or landowners who would like these habitats created or restored on their land will be able to have it done free of charge, with the ponds are required to be a minimum size of 150m2. Wildscapes will carry out maintenance and monitoring visits on a periodic basis over 25 years.

Paul Jarman, pond programme manager for Wildscapes CIC, said: “We are delighted that the scheme is off to a great start in North Lincolnshire and that there is a need for more ponds so soon.

“We have received a huge amount of interest from landowners across the region offering their land to support the creation of GCN habitat and from those looking to play their part in the preservation of this protected species.”