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04/11/11: Local newt habitat saved as part of electricity scheme

Great Crested Newts at the Davyhulme Millennium Nature Reserve are being protected during work by Electricity North West.

As part of its multimillion-pound supply upgrade programme in the Flixton area, the company is dismantling and removing electricity pylons and sections of overhead powerlines and replacing them with new underground cables.

The project involves work in a wooded area within the nature reserve site, which runs along the west bank of Manchester’s Ship Canal. The area is home to Great Crested Newts, so Electricity North West has consulted with Pennine Ecological, an independent conservation consultancy, to ensure that the newts are not affected by the ground works.

The nature reserve team at Davyhulme will keep wooden logs cleared by Electricity North West to make way for the undergrounding and use them to create a new improved refuge for the newts. In the meantime, Pennine Ecological will ensure that the newts are within safe areas whilst the work is undertaken. To date Pennine Ecological have moved 15 adult newts under a Natural England licence to safe areas, well away from the planned work.

Robert Leatham, Ecological Consultant at Pennine Ecological, said: “Working with the teams at Electricity North West and the Davyhulme Millennium Nature Reserve means we will have the chance to create new habitats for the newts while essential electricity updates are carried out. This in turn will hopefully encourage more newts to the area.”

Bob Law, Electricity North West’s programme manager for the Flixton undergrounding work, added: “During any undergrounding work, it is a priority for Electricity North West to ensure the local environment experiences minimum disruption.

“Working with the Pennine Ecological team and the Davyhulme Millennium Nature Reserve, our team of engineers has ensured that all communities are being taken into account to preserve the natural environment.”

Electricity North West is the company responsible for the region’s local power network, connecting customers to the National Grid. The electricity upgrade programme it is carrying out will involve the removal of 18 pylons in the area and replacing part of the overhead lines with underground cables.

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