Sheffield environmental firm's pond creation is big boost to newt populations

A Sheffield environmental organisation that has already created 100 wildlife ponds in the Yorkshire region aims to add 25 more to that total this year.

By Julia Armstrong
Monday, 9th August 2021, 1:55 pm

The work undertaken by Sheffield-based environmental consultancy Wildscapes CIC for Natural England is helping to protect great crested newts.

This new scheme for South Yorkshire means that when a proposed development is likely to impact on the newts’ habitat, developers now have the option of a quicker and simpler alternative to the traditional action they would have had to take to get the go-ahead for plans.

Wildscapes CIC say that during the 20th century half of the UK’s ponds were lost, primarily due to the change in land use away from mixed farming, and the remaining ponds are considered to be in a poor state, which has been identified as the key factor in the decline of great crested newt populations. Their work aims to secure the long-term protection of this species and their habitat.

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A Wildscapes CIC pond at Woodhouse Washlands, Sheffield

The consultancy aim to create new ponds in the most suitable locations to allow the newts to thrive. This is done through consultation with Natural England, local knowledge and records of where newts have been found.

Ponds are constructed within close proximity to known newt populations and ideally in between several different ones to promote breeding.

All these ponds are maintained and monitored by Wildscapes CIC in South Yorkshire for 25 years.

Conservation contracts manager Steven Greenwood said: “We’re delighted that the scheme is off to great start in South Yorkshire and that there is a need for more ponds so soon, following the batches we’ve created over the last couple of years.

"We’ve received a huge amount of interest from landowners across the region offering their land to support the creation of great crested newt habitat and from those looking to play their part in the preservation of this protected species.”

Fully funded by Natural England, landowners are not asked to contribute financially to the pond creation or restoration or suitable livestock fencing if required, but simply to take a few basic measures to protect the habitat quality of the pond.

The need for suitable land will be ongoing and interested parties are encouraged to contact Wildscapes CIC to discuss potential sites for consideration.

More information can be found here: wildscapes.co.uk/pond-creation