A PROTECTED species of newt has been given its marching orders.

Works to clear great crested newts from areas in Wichelstowe earmarked for development will begin this month.

In an update to residents, planners said: “Over the next month fencing and traps will be installed and our ecologists will be collecting and relocating the newts to one of the receptor sites within Wichelstowe.”

The black plastic sheeting, which is hammered into the ground, prevents the newts from re-colonising or getting out of the land due to be built upon.

Swindon Borough Council is building homes together with company Barratt Homes.

Work to relocate the newts is being carried out under licence from Natural England, the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England.

The Wichelstowe project team said: “We regularly survey the site and keep track of the number of great crested newts by scanning their distinct belly patterns.”

Great crested newts are a protected species under European law.

It is illegal to damage their habitats or move them, except under licence from Natural England.

The newts can create headaches for developers, as they have the potential to slow-up building work.