View Full Version : My Radio Interview About Scottish Great Crested Newts

2013-04-23, 07:40 PM
In case anyone's interested, I ended up doing a last minute surprise radio interview about great crested newts in Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland last night.

If you're so inclined, you can listen to it online now (1hr 48mins in) at:


inflatable dalek
2013-04-23, 08:22 PM
Awesome. Though I don't think they're that great, more OK.

2013-04-23, 10:04 PM
[before you're even on the audio I'm listening]

What is a scottish great crested newt? Birds? Lizards? :lol:

2013-04-24, 06:45 PM
[before you're even on the audio I'm listening]

What is a scottish great crested newt? Birds? Lizards? :lol:

The mostly come at night. Mostly.

2013-04-25, 08:36 AM
They're a protected species under EU laws as they are quite rare on the continent. They are quite common over here. Lately they have been in the news for pissing off some builders in York whom wanted to build a load of houses, only to have that work halted when the newts were discovered living there. Now they all have to be collected and rehomed. In addition to the newts, the BBC reporter onsite also showed us the buckets of toads and frogs that had been collected from the same site. It made me sad to see the big impact we have when building these little Lego housing estates (I feel more comftable with mine as it was built on the site of some derelict mills).

The land earmarked for development seemed quite boggy and wet...I hope this isn't another idiotic developement on a flood plain (we seem quite clever at doing that in Britain over the last 20 or so years "well the Environment agency said there' only a 1 in 100 years risk of flooding here." "Yes, but that means it could flood at any time in that period and may happen more than once").

2013-04-26, 12:32 PM
As has already been said, great crested newts are a European Protected Species (EPS), largely on account of the massive declines on the continent. They are widespread and not uncommon in England, but fairly rare and isolated in Scotland which is the northern fringe of the species' range. So long as baseline surveys are undertaken at an early stage, they needn't be a major obstacle to developments (I come up with the solutions for a living) - the problem is they are often left to the last minute or even ignored and later turned up when the diggers are at work and this is where delays can be costly.

The UK government keeps getting taken to the EU court for not enforcing the law for great crested newts adequately - this just doesn't tend to hit the news.

I was in fact at a construction site today ensuring great crested newts and reptiles were not harmed during works, and all went smoothly as it normally does (again, this doesn't ever hit the news!).

I did work on a great crested newt translocation for a surface mine development a couple years back and was moving literally buckets of amphibians (including great crested newts). We moved everything - frogs, toads, smooth newts and palmate newts as well - although only great crested newts are protected from intentional or reckless harm. Therefore, if a development site only had the other four widespread amphibians then they would not actually have a legal obligation to do anything to protect them (we also have a sixth native Scottish amphibian - natterjack toads which are another EPS but they genuinely are very rare in the UK and subject to high levels of protection, although there are now fewer natterjacks in Scotland than wildcats!!!! Again, that doesn't hit the news... Not furry enough I guess).

Incidentally, all species of native reptiles in Scotland (two snakes and two lizards - although we confusingly have an introduced population of sand lizards, which are an EPS) are also protected from intentional or reckless harm.

inflatable dalek
2013-04-26, 12:35 PM
I think Adrian Mole had the same job in The Wilderness Years.

2013-04-26, 05:13 PM
Yeah but Adrian Mole was a dick. I'm giving numbat the benefit of the doubt. :)

2013-04-27, 10:46 AM
Yeah but Adrian Mole was a dick. I'm giving numbat the benefit of the doubt. :)
I really appreciate that!