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Chester Zoo wants fracking site newts' habitat protected

Upton anti-fracking site
Image caption Protesters built defences at the site to resist eviction

Chester Zoo has called for reassurances that a species of newt will be protected if test drilling for gas takes place in their habitat.

Anti-fracking protestors set up camp at Upton, near Chester, in April 2014 to prevent testing by energy company IGas.

The protestors were evicted last week after they were served with a court order to leave in November.

The zoo has said the site may be home to great crested newts, whose habitats are protected by European law.

Energy firm IGas said it was "fully aware" of its responsibility to protect wildlife.

Image copyright Frack Free Dee Coalition
Image caption Police closed off the Duttons Lane entrance to the site at Upton prior to the eviction

A Chester Zoo spokesman said: "We have made representations to IGas, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Natural England with regard to safeguarding the great crested newt.

"It is a European Protected Species which we believe may be present on the land on Duttons Lane, Upton.

"We have also written to IGas to request assurances that there will be no adverse impact on the boreholes used for some of Chester Zoo's water supplies."

Nine people were arrested during the operation to remove the group of anti-fracking protesters from the proposed test drilling site.

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