Smooth newts are protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. They’re at risk because of the loss of the habitats where they live, particularly the removal of ponds, and the fragmentation of green spaces as more land is developed. In Wanstead, small garden ponds help support the species, but if these ponds are filled in or stocked with fish, or if gardens are paved over, newt populations will suffer.
HOW TO HELP
Create habitats in your garden where newts can live and feed, like a long grass area or piles of old wood or leaves in a shady location.
Build a wildlife pond – find out how. If you install a pond, newts may find it within a fortnight!
Help insects and mini-beasts thrive in your garden – that means one thing, lots of foliage. Large areas of paving for drives and patios are disastrous for city invertebrates and wildlife more generally – dig some of it up or cover it with planters to re-green your plot. Ground-dwelling insects, such as beetles, generally benefit from dense vegetation, including evergreens. Other great habitats for mini-beasts are long-grass areas, mini wildflower meadows, leaf and log piles and bug hotels.
Never use slug pellets, pesticides or weedkillers in your garden. Instead, aim to attract lots of different wildlife to keep things in balance, using biological pest control if necessary. Lobby the council to stop spraying pesticides around our streets.