Great crested newts found on M1

Large numbers of great crested newts have been found on the M1 smart motorway scheme.

Thomson Habitats has been working alongside the Costain & Galliford Try joint venture to deal with the ecology on site.

Working with their sister company Thomson Ecology on the motorway embankment, the team found large numbers of great crested newts that they re-located to new habitat as part of the scheme.

Ecology works included:

  • Clearing trees, scrub and shrubs and installing great crested newt fencing
  • Installing 400 pitfall traps and 450 carpet tiles to attract great crested newts
  • Providing ecological watching briefs
  • Trapping for 25 days and moving the great crested newts to a receptor area nearby
  • Constructing 30 log piles and eight brick piles to enhance the habitat in the receptor site.

Dave Grimmond, business manager at Thomson Habitats, said: “Motorway embankments are often great habitats for newts and reptiles because they are largely untouched and undisturbed by harsh maintenance regimes. So far we have captured over 100 crested newts along a 4km stretch of the motorway embankment. Although this has been a challenging project in terms of the difficult terrain and the logistical issues that come with working alongside a busy motorway, the works have gone smoothly.

Darren Thorn, senior agent from Costain & Galliford Try, added: “Thomson Ecology has proven to be highly valuable on this scheme. Despite the difficulties of the ground, tight programme and access issues, they have completed the works to a high standard and have maintained the highest levels of professionalism. Their TIM software has proven to be of huge assistance and clearly sets them apart from other consultants in the field. ”

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