Newt protection costs Durham Police about £34,000

Great crested newt Great crested newts are protected by law

Durham Police has spent nearly £34,000 on dealing with a colony of rare amphibians which was found on the site of its new headquarters.

Great-crested newts are protected by law so special measures had to be put in place before the £14m project could begin at Aykley Heads.

It had to spend the money to create a special habitat nearby, and erect a newt-proof fence around it.

Work is under way on the new building, which is due to open next summer.

Great-crested newts became a European Protected Species following a dramatic decline in their population across Europe.

Great crested newts

  • Great crested newts are Britain's largest newt species, reaching up to 17cm (7ins) in length
  • The amphibians are dark in colour, with spotted sides, an orange belly and warty skin
  • Although they are protected by law, the population has declined as a result of the destruction of habitats
  • It means developers who find colonies must sometimes go to extreme lengths to avoid disturbing the newts

Sources: BBC Nature / JNCC

It is an offence to capture, kill or disturb them, as well as damage or destroy their breeding sites or resting places without an appropriate licence.

Michelle March, the force's head of estates, said: "The mitigation measures we were required to put in place cost just under £34,000, payable to Kier as our contractor.

"Any delays in a major project such as this will have knock-on effects, as they hold up the move from one building to another and the estimated savings on running costs."

The new HQ, which replaces a building dating back to 1969, is aimed at generating substantial annual savings in running costs.

There will also be income from selling off the old site for housing.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tyne & Wear

Weather

Newcastle upon Tyne

2 °C 0 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    07:53: Car and lorry block road

    The A689 Stockton Road in Greatham is blocked in both directions between the Dalton Back Lane junction and the High Street junction because of an accident involving a car and lorry.

    One lane is blocked on the A66(M) eastbound between A1(M) J57 Darlington and A66 Bridge Road because of an accident and recovery work.

    The A68 in Corbridge closed to high sided vehicles in both directions. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  2.  
    07:45: Drifting snow

    Mark Litt has emailed us to say the road from Consett to Tow Law is only passable with a 4x4. He says there's drifting snow and abandoned cars on the route.

    Three tractors are currently clearing the road but Consett's main roads are black, he tells us.

    He also thinks the Weardale main roads are ploughed and passable with plenty of gritters and tractor ploughs out.

     
  3.  
    07:34: Scattered wintry showers Kay Crewdson Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    Staying cold and breezy with scattered wintry showers which could be rather heavy at times. Most of the showers will affect the Dales, North Pennines and Cheviots where some accumulations are likely. Winds will be quite gusty in the showers.

    Kay Crewdson

    Maximum temperature: 2C (36F). You can find a full forecast on the BBC Weather website.

     
  4.  
    07:26: School closures

    The headteacher of Wolsingham School and Community College, in County Durham, has called to say the school is closed to all because of snow but is expected to reopen tomorrow.

    Whitfield Primary School and Herdley Bank Primary School, both in Northumberland, are closed today due to snow. They're also hoping to reopen tomorrow but it depends on the weather.

    Parents and students are being advised to check the schools' websites for updates.

     
  5.  
    07:21: Snow causing some road problems

    The A697 is closed in both directions between the A698 Main Street junction in Cornhill-on-Tweed and Longhorsley Turn Off in Espley Hall because of snow.

    And the A66 is closed in both directions between the A685 junction in Brough and the A1 Scotch Corner because of snow.

    Take a look at the BBC Travel website for more updates for Tyne and Wear and Tees.

     
  6.  
    07:15: Good morning

    Good morning and welcome to Local Live in the North East. We're starting a little earlier this morning to bring you weather and travel updates.

    There have been varying amounts of snow across the region - a dusting in some areas and more substantial quantities elsewhere.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.