A new project to help Yorkshire's amphibian population and restore wildlife habitats given a major cash boost

A new project to help Yorkshire’s amphibian population has been given nearly a quarter-of-a-million pounds to improve the region’s wildlife habitats.

The Yorkshire TOAD project will help amphibians and rebuilt wildlife habitats

Froglife’s Tails Of Amphibian Project (TOAD), which will focus on work around the common toad, a species which has declined by 68 per cent over the past 30 years, has been awarded just under £250,000 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which is designed to help environmental recovery.

With the common toad facing the threat of extinction in the next decade if the decline is not halted, Froglife said it would be working with council landowners in Wakefield, Kirklees, Leeds, York and Calderdale on 22 wildlife sites. These sites have been identified as either in need of restoration or will benefit from new habitat creation.

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Froglife’s chief executive officer, Kathy Wormald, said: “At other sites where we’ve made habitat improvements, we’ve witnessed an increase in common toad populations so we’re very excited to have received this funding to further our work in Yorkshire, where we already have close working relationships.”

The TOAD project will build on the charity’s existing work in the region which includes the first northern Toad Summit held earlier this year and extensive habitat work along the new wildlife corridor in Sheffield which is helping boost populations of birds, dormice and amphibians.

The aim of the TOAD project is to restore 22 ponds, create 32 new ones, plant five wildflower meadows and install one dipping platform as well as delivering a volunteer training programme on habitat management to more than 600 volunteers.

Froglife has been working to save the common toad in Yorkshire for the past 20 years through, among other projects, its Toads on the Roads patrols.

With road mortality the largest contributor to the decline in toad populations as new roads and developments are built near the ancestral breeding grounds they migrate back to each year, toad patrols, made up of volunteers, monitor the routes helping toads and amphibians cross safely.

Each migratory toad crossing is registered with the Department for Transport and there are currently around 180 across the country.

Officials at Yorkshire TOAD will be working with the patrol volunteers on an audit to find how they can make further improvements to stop road deaths.

The project will also include a public engagement programme to raise awareness of the

importance of amphibian conservation.

Froglife’s development manager, Sheila Grundy, said: “Toads and amphibians as a whole are often overlooked as they are not beautiful, but they are lovable and really important for our eco-system.”

The engagement programme will include working with communities to create five neighbourhood wildlife corridors through urban landscapes as well as hosting wildlife gardening workshops and open days.

Froglife is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the £80m Green Recovery Challenge Fund, part of the Prime Minister’s ‘10 Point Plan’ to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said projects like TOAD Yorkshire would be a vital part of promoting the natural environment.