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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 February 2008, 17:15 GMT
New 60,000 home for four newts
Great crested newts
There were only four newts found on the site
Cheshire County Council is calling for a review of EU legislation after being forced to spend 60,000 to move four newts from a school development site.

Great crested newts are an endangered species and are protected by EU law.

When four were found on land at Fallibroome High School, Macclesfield, they had to be trapped, moved and have a new pond built to house them.

Councillor Barrie Hardern called the 60,000 cost of the scheme before the school could build "ludicrous".

When the amphibians were found on the site where the school wanted to build new sports facilities and an extension a costly mitigation exercise had to be undertaken which meant a new habitat had to be built.

I find it extraordinary that the law requires public money to be spent at such a ludicrous level
Councillor Barrie Hardern

Natural England, the government body charged with protecting the newts said it was important to look after every colony no matter how small.

Spokesman Jim Foster said: "In Cheshire, where this development occurred for example, in the end of the 19th Century there were about 42,000 ponds.

"But over the last century we've lost about 25,000 of those ponds, so that's the real reason why these animals need protecting because of the loss of their habitat."

But Mr Harden said: "I find it extraordinary that the law requires public money to be spent at such a ludicrous level."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
The proposed cost of moving the newts



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