Page last updated at 10:37 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 11:37 UK

Airport newts halt Concorde home

Artist impression of new Concorde hangar
Work on the hangar will now be completed in 2009 (pic: airport)

Construction work on a 1.1m home for Manchester Airport's retired Concorde was brought to a sudden halt by some tiny pond-dwellers.

Work was under way on the supersonic giant's hangar and visitor centre last month when a colony of great-crested newts was discovered during surveys.

A 5,000 conservation programme was started and the newts re-homed to a nearby pond, delaying the project.

Airport bosses say the visitor centre will now not be completed until 2009.

Conservation body Natural England advised the airport developers on the project, issuing a licence to re-home the amphibians.

A newt-proof plastic fence was erected around the site and the newts were captured in plastic buckets.

We caught dozens and carried them back to a pond where they live safely away from the construction work
Tim Walmsley, airport environment manager

After a 35-day surveillance period the area has now been declared a newt free zone, allowing construction work to resume.

The airport has a history of newt activity - more than 4,000 were found during work to develop runway two in 1997.

Tim Walmsley, airport environment manager, said: "The great crested newts are old friends of Manchester Airport and we routinely survey for them as a matter of course.

"Before we even submit planning permission for a project we carry out a survey of the ground for newts and as soon as we spotted one we called in the experts.

"We caught dozens and carried them back to a pond where they live safely away from the construction work."


SEE ALSO
New 60,000 home for four newts
14 Feb 08 |  Manchester
Newts get 300k re-homing project
11 Nov 06 |  Merseyside

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