Updated: Nov 10, 2020
Funding is available in certain areas for wildlife pond creation and restoration on farmland to support great crested newts. FWAG East is helping to deliver Natural England's District Level Licensing scheme (DLL) - a strategic approach to licensing which seeks to create lots and lots of bigger, better, more joined up habitat for this orange bellied amphibian at a landscape scale.
Pond loss occurs naturally as neglected ponds fill with soil sediments and organic matter. However pressure from development and agricultural intensification all contribute towards the current, unprecedented level of habitat fragmentation and loss. It is estimated that the UK has lost around 50% of ponds in the 20th Century alone. Of the ponds that remain, many are in poor condition, suffering from pollution from roads and arable farming or other disturbance by human beings. Whatever the cause, wildlife ponds are disappearing from the landscape at an alarming rate meaning that many of the species that depend on them (such as toads and great crested newts) are also in decline.
The good news is that some ponds can be brought back into good habitat condition with sensitive restoration carried out at the right time of year, benefiting numerous species. Newly created ponds can also deliver huge benefits to wildlife as they are often rapidly colonised by plants and animals. Studies from UCL (University College London) have shown that the careful management of ponds has been proven to increase the species richness and abundance of visiting farmland birds, including a number of UK conservation priority species.
Said Lucy Jenkins, coordinating the campaign for FWAG East, “We are calling on farmers, small holders and other landowners to help reverse pond loss by restoring or creating wildlife ponds in appropriate locations on their land, ideally away from settlement and development. We are especially interested in creating shallow-profile, clean water wildlife ponds which are proven to support the most wildlife, including protected species such as the great crested newt.”
FWAG groups have helped restore and create more than fifty ponds across East Anglia in the past year alone. Some of the ponds created will qualify for funding under Natural England’s District Level Licencing (DLL) scheme, which the FWAG groups are helping to deliver in areas throughout the region. The scheme went live in Essex and Cambridgeshire earlier this year and is expected to launch in Suffolk this autumn, with the delivery of pond projects in the county planned for 2021.
Even if ponds don’t qualify for this funding, FWAG East can offer a free wildlife pond design plan along with advice on the best place to locate new ponds, how to sensitively restore ponds, and how to manage pond habitats for wildlife. If you are a landowner and are interested in creating or restoring a pond on your land, please get in touch to discuss it with your local FWAG first: Lucy Jenkins/ email@example.com / 07896 002793