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Common lizards given a new place to lounge at Betteshanger Park

Posted on 16/12/16

A colony of common lizards will be spending their first Christmas in a new purpose built home after a successful move from Discovery Park to Betteshanger Park.

The carefully planned relocation programme was an essential part of preparations for the development of the first phase of residential development at Discovery Park, set to get underway in 2017.

Discovery Park worked closely with Betteshanger Park and wildlife experts AECOM and Native Ecology to relocate hundreds of the sun seeking reptiles over the summer.

From Discovery Park, project manager Alan Carver and Lauren Wood, general manager for Betteshanger Park Lorraine Cheesmor and Discovery Park customer services manager Kimberley Anderson

Betteshanger Park is a 250-acre country park, operated as part of the Hadlow Group’s Betteshanger Sustainable Parks scheme. It is a major new commercial, educational and visitor destination on the site of the old Betteshanger Colliery. Its core focus is on all forms of energy and environmental sustainability.

The £40m scheme is helping to regenerate the former colliery site, preserving its history & heritage, delivering jobs and providing educational opportunity.

Betteshanger Park was approached by Discovery Park earlier in the year about the possibility of becoming a receptor site to its lizard population located in an area earmarked for residential development.

With agreement reached, an area of the Park was transformed into a lizard friendly environment ready to welcome the new arrivals. This habitat enhancement programme included reptile fencing, the construction of two hibernacula and earth mounds.

Ecologists (AECOM & Native Ecology) were contracted to capture, record and relocate the lizards to Betteshanger Park.

The reptile re-location programme will be monitored over the next five years with Darryn Nash, Principal Ecologist at AECOM, linking it to his on-going PhD work at the University of Kent.

Alan Carver, Project Manager, Discovery Park said:

“The collaborative working between all parties has resulted in a win-win situation for all – not least the lizards who now have a purpose built home at Betteshanger Park.”

Kimberley Anderson, Corporate Relations Manager, Discovery Park, said:

“It’s great to have been able to work with Betteshanger Park on this project, linking two sites that are so vital to East Kent’s future.

“This is just the start of our partnership and we look forward to working more closely going forward, particularly in providing an environment at our two sites for the next generation of people and businesses to thrive.”

Lorraine Cheesmur, Betteshanger Park’s General Manager, said:

“We were delighted to be able to assist in this project and that the conditions at Betteshanger made the relocation project possible. The lizards now have a wonderful new home and we have worked hard to ensure our new residents feel welcome.”

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