I’ll admit that I was confused when I saw the site plan for this project. Not much vegetation visible on the aerial photo – just a bit of urban infill on hardstanding. Why ask for an ecological appraisal?Well, it turns out that the site is close to one of Wales’ most important great crested newt populations – Stryt Las, near Johnstown. Apparently the whole area is crawling with amphibians, so everything needs to be scrutinised with newts in mind.
Happily for the client, the only pond within 500m of the site is full of carp and is managed by the local angling club. There seems little chance this would be successfully used for great crested newt breeding. Carp are bottom feeders and ponds containing large populations of carp tend to have very little in the way of the vegetation needed by egg-laying newts. Although the site boundary for Stryt Las is within 1km of the site, the ponds where the important newt population breeds are at the far end of the site, so the chances of one of them turning up on my client’s site seems fairly remote given all the splendid habitat in between.
Hopefully the local authority will feel the same way and allow my client’s planning application to proceed.