New ponds created in Sheffield to rescue falling newt population

Wildlife is getting a helping hand as over 30 new ponds are being created to home a declining species of protected newts.

Falling numbers of the Great Crested Newt has prompted Natural England to fund the creation and restoration of ponds across South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.

Paul Jarman, Land Management Supervisor at Widscapes, the company carrying out the work, said: “In recent decades the newts have been in decline, certainly over the last 50 years. There’s less and less ponds in the country so they’re just losing their habitat.”

Great Crested Newts, which grow up to 17cm in length, are a protected species that like clean water. They are very particular in their requirements and will travel up to 1km to find the right pond.

According to Natural England, last century around 50% of UK ponds were lost and that is the main reason that the newt population has suffered.

Paul said: “We’ve had our work cut out this Winter, over 30 ponds have gone in the ground now.

“We knew about this around about November time so it’s been quite a rapid mobilisation of making plans and getting the work in action.”

The final work in South Yorkshire is underway today to complete the third pond at Woodhouse Washlands.

The locations of new ponds have been carefully selected as part of a national strategy in which over 500 ponds will be made.

“At the moment the Newts are currently in hibernation. In the next few weeks when it starts warming up a little bit they’ll come out of hibernation and hopefully find the new ponds,” Paul added.

Written by Ryan Betts

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