Further details of A47 snails experiment revealed

Further details of A47 snails experiment revealed

Further details of an experiment to move tiny endangered snails from ditches on the edge of the A47 Acle Straight have emerged – after a 50-plus page document drawn up to discuss the trial was made public.

As reported, the dykes around the road are one of the few habitats of the Little Whirlpool Ramshorn Snail – on an international ‘red list’ of endangered species.

Government officers are considering a relocation of the miniscule molluscs, which have shells less than a fifth of an inch in diameter.

If the trial goes ahead and it proves successful, it could help smooth the way for the long-awaited dualling of the road – although it will take three years before the results of that trial are known.

Further details of just what the trial would entail have been revealed, after Andrew Boswell, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council and a Norfolk county councillor, lodged a Freedom Of Information request with Highways England.

That led to the publication of a 53-page feasibility study on the “translocation” of the snails.

It explains how the snails would be removed from ditches using a fine net. They would then be sorted and counted before being moved to new ditches. That would provide a baseline for the subsequent years’ monitoring of whether the snails are flourishing, following the switch. It is understood that the process could cost up to £100,000.

However, in their response to Mr Boswell, Highways England contradicted Norfolk County Council’s previous claim an agreement had been struck with landowners to start the trial this summer, saying no agreement had been made.

But a Highways England spokesperson did confirm: “We’re in the very early stages of assessing the environmental impact on any improvements we might make on the A47, this includes those on protected species along with other environmental issues.

“Our study work began at the end of last month.”


this news story was provided by great yarmouth mercury


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