Great crested newts on the proposed access road to the Calvert incinerator are sleeping through a legal process that could decide their future.
Campaigners against the incinerator have made three judicial review claims in relation to the incinerator.
One of these was against Natural England, which had issued incinerator developers FCC with a licence to translocate European Protected Species, including bats and great crested newts.
Plastic sheeting fences and great crested newt traps were set by FCC over about 3.5km of the disused line to trap the newts when they come out of hibernation.
The licence was quashed but Natural England has since issued a new licence.
The fate of the newts is now among several items being considered by a judge as part of a second judicial review claim against Bucks County Council’s planning permission for an incerator at Calvert, based on ecology grounds.
As long as night-time temperatures continue to fall below 5 oC, the newts will remain in hibernation.
But anti-incinerator campaigner Dr David Evershed said: “Once the night-time temperatures stop falling below 5oC the newts will want to migrate at nighttime to their mating ground. Natural England has issued a licence that allows FCC to arrange for the traps to be opened to catch the newts and translocate them from the area. If the licence is quashed again, it would immediately become illegal for them to do that and they would need to remove the fencing very quickly.”