Thanks to initial observations from residents last week, it became very clear that we were visited by people setting out Newt traps in the ponds on the golf course. A Newt survey is a planning requirement that Haddon would need to complete as part of a planning application. However, at this time, it would appear any survey is being carried out without the required license in place from Natural England (although they do seem to be following the methods described). Deliberately trapping Great Crested Newts with the intention of monitoring without a license is a criminal offense and we have notified the police who are following up.
The survey is intended to identify whether the site provides habitats for Great Crested Newts, an endangered/protected species. The type of habitat that Great Crested Newts thrive in are usually made up of a number of ponds and water courses with surrounding countryside providing cover. The European population has been on the decline for a number of years and although discovery of Great Crested Newts will not stop a development, it will stall and create significant work and cost to relocate the newts.
Of the European population, 50% of the remaining population is in the UK and 50% of the UK population can be found in Cheshire! We are aware that there has been confirmation of local populations within a few miles of Wychwood and we have seen photographs of other newt species from the Wychwood area. Therefore there is a high probability that we may have Great Crested newts given the large number of ponds and typical habitat surrounding us.
We would like to ask everyone not to disturb any traps that they may come across but to report any activity on-site to us, so we can closely monitor.
Unfortunately, this clearly demonstrates that Haddon are determined to seek planning approval to build on the site regardless of the recent non-inclusion within the local plan and other speculation concerning the site.