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registered charity no. 1089466

 

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History and Achievements

The London, Essex & Hertfordshire Amphibian and Reptile Trust is the only organisation working solely for the conservation of native amphibians, reptiles and their habitats across the three counties. The Trust was formed in 1994 as the London Amphibian and Reptile Group and became the London Amphibian and Reptile Trust in 1998. Separate Amphibian and Reptile Groups were formed at the same time in Hertfordshire and Essex. All three organisations then amalgamated in 2000 to form the present Trust.

The current Essex Amphibian and Reptile Group (which was launched in 2002) has no connection historically with LEHART although we aim to work together in the county to further the conservation of its native amphibians and reptiles whenever necessary.

The key focus of our conservation work and achievements over the past decade has included a survey of all ponds in Greater London with any potential for Great Crested Newts, together with the management of over 50 ponds for this national Biodiversity Action Plan species. In Hertfordshire and Essex, the emphasis has also been on work to locate new Great Crested Newt populations with over 600 and 250 ponds surveyed respectively. Key reptile work has centred on Adders in Greater London and Essex, together with surveys of “brown field” sites in the three counties for all species.

The key achievements of the Trust in each year are summarised as follows:

1994         Launch year including the surveys of four key herpetofauna sites threatened by development.

1995         Re-survey of all the known historical Great Crested Newt sites in Greater London. Amphibian survey in Epping Forest. Borough reptile and amphibian survey in Kensington and Chelsea. Survey of six herpetofauna sites threatened by development.

1996         All ponds within 500 metres of proven Greater London Great Crested Newt sites in 1995 surveyed to ascertain extent of populations. Records used by Metropolitan Police to secure the formal caution of Sutton Council. Paper on the decline of Great Crested Newts in Greater London published in the London Naturalist. Reptile and amphibian surveys of key sites in Kingston-upon-Thames. First reptile surveys carried out at Basildon and Chelmsford.

1997         Completion of Pond Management Briefs for all the known Great Crested Newt populations in Greater London and circulation to landowners. Training course organised for the Field Studies Council. Amphibian survey of the new Wildlife Garden completed at the Natural History Museum, together with surveys at seven other important sites in Essex and Greater London. Major management task to restore habitat for Slowworms at a key nature reserve site in north west London. Organised Great Crested Newt training course for volunteers in Hatfield Heath, Uttlesford, Essex.

1998         Management work completed on ten Great Crested Newt ponds in Greater London. Training course run for Three Valleys Water in Hertfordshire. Advice given to Hertfordshire Police regarding development adjacent to a large Great Crested Newt population. A re-survey of all known Great Crested Newt breeding ponds completed, together with an amphibian survey in Epping Forest.

1999         A major survey undertaken of all ponds in the London Borough of Havering, together with continuing amphibian survey work in Epping Forest and a reptile survey in Thurrock. Completion of an extensive restoration programme of 32 ponds in Havering either holding extant Great Crested Newt populations or within natural colonisation distance following receipt of landfill tax funding. Started first phase of a new survey of reptile populations on allotment sites in urban Hertfordshire.

2000         Completed a reptile survey of allotments sites in London Borough of Hillingdon. Joined the Thurrock Biodiversity Action Group and attended Planet Havering environmental fair. Supported the successful funding application by Froglife for a London “Pond Doctor” post. Secured a second tranche of landfill tax funding to restore by hand a moat used by Great Crested Newts.

2001         Organised two amphibian training courses. Supported MSc student with their research project into Great Crested Newt dispersal and colonisation of new habitats. Continued amphibian survey work in Epping Forest. Completed final phase of the reptile survey of reptiles on allotments in Hertfordshire.

2002         Surveyed 200 ponds for Great Crested Newts in Hertfordshire. Completed a reptile survey of 150 allotment sites in Greater London. Managed 12 ponds in Essex and Greater London. Hosted the SE England HGBI Regional Conference at the Linnean Society.

2003         Employed a seasonal Conservation Officer – the first such post within a voluntary county group. Final year of the fieldwork for new Greater London Amphibian and Reptile Atlas. Visited 300 ponds in Greater London not previously surveyed for Great Crested Newts and re-surveyed 30 ponds subject to management work in past five years. Published updated and revised species fact sheets for public and schools, together with new poster, cards and information sheet about the work of the Trust. Trained eight people for English Nature Great Crested Newt survey licences. Attended the Bexley Wildlife Day.

2004 Completed a preliminary Adder survey in Greater London to check for previously unrecorded sites. Attended the Planet Havering and Waltham Forest Wildlife Day events. Completed the end of the Work Placement Officer contract.

 

2005 Major project to complete and publish an English Nature (now Natural England) Research Report entitled ‘Evaluation of the Conservation Status of the Adder in Greater London’. This included individual site management briefs for all the county’s adder sites.

 

2006 Commenced a 3 year project to re-survey all the Great Crested Newt breeding sites in Greater London. Continued with on-going monitoring of Greater London adder sites. Article published in the Independent newspaper on the Trust’s report into adder conservation in London.

2007 Completed second year of Greater London Great Crested Newt resurvey project. Conducted management at Trust reptile reserve in London Borough of Sutton. A new initiative has been undertaken in partnership with the Hertfordshire Biological Records Centre to revisit all known Palmate Newt sites in the County to update records of this Hertfordshire Biodiversity Action Plan species and monitor its status. Helped to secure funding from SITA trust for three year programme of survey, monitoring and management work at one of London’s four confirmed adder sites. Plans for an e-atlas of herpetofauna distribution in the county are being developed. Provision of advice and information to various authorities including the Royal Parks and Zoological Society of London continues. Advice provided to members of the public for example in Epping (Essex) on planning and great crested newts. Publication of double-page article in national Country Life magazine on snakes (August 23rd 2007).

 

The Trust has worked in partnership with a number of major external organisations during the past decade including the Natural History Museum, Woodland Trust, London Wildlife Trust, English Nature, English Heritage, Thames Water Utilities, Three Valleys Water, Anglian Water, Imperial College, University of East London, Trust for Urban Ecology, Field Studies Council, Countryside Managers Association, British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, Metropolitan Police, Hertfordshire and Essex Constabularies, RSPCA, Corporation of London, Hertfordshire Biological Records Centre, and most Local Authorities in Greater London, Essex and Hertfordshire.

 


 

 


 

 

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