SnOasis bosses in rare newts pledge

DEVELOPERS battling to win government approval to build the giant SnOasis winter ski resort have offered to make further provisions for protected newts on the site.

DEVELOPERS battling to win government approval to build the giant SnOasis winter ski resort have offered to make further provisions for protected newts on the site.

Experts working for Onslow Suffolk are trying to convince Natural England that sufficient habitat is being provided for the great crested newts.

The newts have been a major stumbling block standing in the way of construction of the huge indoor ski slope and associated winter sports facilities and the government has told the developers to find a way of allaying Natural England's concerns over the newts.

After talks between the groups last week, Onslow has now officially offered nine acres of extra land on the Great Blakenham site for the creation of new habitats as part of an existing mitigation area scheme on land bordering the development.


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The plan is to move newts from the area around the former Mason's Quarry to an area which will be preserved for wildlife.

Godfrey Spanner, managing director of Onslow Suffolk, said: “We have revisited the great crested newt position and have given a further nine acres or so for the creation of new habitats and have submitted these proposals to a meeting with Natural England.

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“Clearly our site is no different from thousands of sites in the UK where newts are found and therefore the problem will have a solution.”

Natural England said the offer of nine extra acres had been on the table since May but said other suggestions had been made at last week's meeting.

A spokesman said: “I can confirm we had a meeting with the ecologist representing the developer who made some new helpful suggestions. However we are still awaiting details of this in writing and require a revised section 106.”

The Section 106 agreement will detail the measures Onslow Suffolk will be required to carry out if construction of the £300million project goes ahead. It is expected to be presented to Natural England and the government by the end of this month, with an announcement on whether the government will give the final go-ahead due in September.

Lord Blakenham, who farms land in the area and opposes the development, questioned whether wildlife from the site could be preserved on a mitigation area.

He said: “I find it difficult to believe that you can accommodate all that wildlife and all that flora on what is basically agricultural land. There are over 80 species breeding and living there.”

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