Ecological appraisal and great crested newt habitat assessment, Buckley, Flintshire (2012)

This site lies close to Buckley Claypits and Commons SSSI, part of which is within Deeside and Buckley Newt Sites SAC.  Not surprisingly, great crested newts figured quite prominently in the ecological appraisal !

The project site itself was a small area of improved grassland with well-developed hedgerow, offering potential for foraging for all sorts of wildlife and, no doubt, supporting a variety of nesting birds.  A key part of the appraisal was scouring the area around the site looking for ponds and assessing the overall quality of the area for great crested newts.   In this case, although the surrounding area offered lots of excellent-looking terrestrial habitat for great crested newts, decent ponds were rather thin on the ground; in fact, the only two waterbodies found were a fishing lake and an ephemeral puddle.  Ordinarily, this would result in great crested newts being more or less ruled out, as they tend to remain within 250m of their breeding sites, but the Buckley area has extraordinarily high numbers of great crested newts, so it seems likely that some precautions will be needed to ensure that the favourable conservation status of newts is not affected by the project.

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