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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Rail revamp’s protection plan for rare toads

A £500,000 railway viaduct revamp is under way.

Network Rail is spending a total of £533,000 replacing a 100-year-old wooden deck on the Pool Viaduct over the Duddon Estuary in Kirkby. The viaduct was first built in 1848 and was reconstructed to its current form in 1912.

The wooden deck is being replaced with steel, with most of the work being undertaken on Sundays when the line is closed, to avoid disruption to rail services.

Engineers working on the revamp have had to make special allowances to protect the local natterjack toad population.

After erecting a fence around the site, they then had to capture and remove any toads inside the perimeter, after seeking permission from English Nature.

Cumbria’s natterjack toads are one of the North West’s most threatened species and around half of England’s population are found along the Cumbrian coast. The toad, which has a very loud and distinctive mating call, breeds in ponds in sand dunes such as those at North Walney and Sandscale Hawes, which are classified as nature reserves to protect the habitat.

Keith Lumley, a spokesman for Network Rail, said: “The area is a habitat for the natterjack toad, which is a protected species.

“As such, we had to erect special fencing – approximately knee high plastic, to prevent the toads from encroaching onto the work site and also to trap those that were inside the fencing so we could capture and remove them before they came to any harm.”

The majority of the viaduct revamp has already been completed. Workmen from May Gurney have installed the new steel structure and will now grit-blast and paint the remaining structure.

The work is expected to be completed by the middle of August.

Have your say

Why waist money to just protect a toad what good do they do i could see your point if it was a fox or even a weasel,badger or centipede.

Posted by Cool on 18 July 2011 at 17:18

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