Some years ago a client dealing with a major development site suddenly got a call saying that great crested newts had been found on their site and the development would be delayed until they implemented mitigation measures.
Half a million pounds worth of work later it became clear that there was a major error in the initial report.
The report said "newts". What it should have said was "newt". Singular. Solitary. Isolated. The only one on a 300 acre site. The world's loneliest amphibian.
Now call me Mr Cynical and acknowledging that I am not a herpetologist (but I do at least know what the word is) but isn't there something about a population of one lacking a critical element to make it viable - at least outside of immaculate conceptions?
This was where the idea of Bob The Freelance Newt came from - the ultimate eco warrior, cheaper to hire than Swampy and easier to move from site to site with immunity from prosecution because of age, language barriers and species and guaranteed to put the brakes on any new development.
Wherever local opposition arose against the nasty developer Bob would be there like SuperNewt to save the day, moving on as soon as the job was done and living now only in our memories.
Of course, this was all entirely tongue in cheek...
Environmentalists can transport protected colonies of great crested newts to proposed development sites, resulting in the development being delayed, Lord Borwick claimed during a debate in the House of Lords on the lack of affordable homes.