Should Newts take the full blame for Ilkeston delays?

Anyone involved or following the development of infrastructure across the UK will be aware of the impact that the discovery of the great-crested newt can have on the timescales for delivery of a project. They regularly add several months to the project as efforts are made to clear the site of the animals and monitor the site to prevent them from returning. It was not a surprise to see a project substantially delayed by them to be featured in the national press. However, it was a surprise to see them take the full blame for the project potentially not being delivered until early 2016.

Although the project has been affected by the ongoing discovery of great-crested newts in traps on the site, it has also been impacted by issues with the car park design, where the designers were forced to reduce a number of design features of the railway station to accommodate the flood alleviation measures in the car park. The unforeseeable/incompetent error (depending on where you sit in this saga) added further delays to a project that was already struggling.

Ilkeston is not the only the New Stations Fund project to be affected by the discovery of protected species on site. Newcourt has been delayed by several months because of the discovery of Slow Worms and Common Lizards on the site.

New railway stations are very beneficial for the local area that it serves and this project should not be used to prevent further rounds of the New Stations Fund from being organised. There are over two hundred railway stations that have been proposed in recent years, many with campaign groups and local support. Many have a good business case that just requires a railway station, whilst others could be delivered with enhancements to the existing railway network.

Source: Independent


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