Safer Drains Project
A Local Authority owned pond in the Vale of Glamorgan is home to South Wales’ largest population of great crested newt.
The newts need a terrestrial habitat to hunt for invertebrate prey and shelter during cold or very dry times of the year. To access these sites, the newts needed to cross a road near the pond where they would unwittingly fall into the drains set tight against the kerb.
Vale Voluntary Great Crested Newt Surveyor, Stephen Lowe, reported that hundreds of newts were being trapped in the drains each year where they were unable to escape. A program of rescues was immediately undertaken by the pond survey team to find the extent of the problem.
In 2005, the Council’s Highways Division and Ecology Team began work to move the drains away from the kerb: leaving a little ledge for the newts to walk along. The scheme was match-funded by the Countryside Council for Wales.
The modifications are now complete and survey results from 2006 suggest that the kerb changes have been a success: only 65 newts were found in the drains compared to 318 before work began.