WORK on a town cemetery which was halted after evidence of great crested newts was found is due to restart.

Darlington Borough Council had to stop some of the work at West Cemetery in April after DNA evidence of the protected species was found at a nearby pond.

It has now received a district level licence from Natural England to allow work to continue on the new chapel.

It has been working with an ecologist since the discovery was made.

Councillor Andy Keir, Darlington Borough Council's cabinet member for local services, said: “We are working closely with the ecologist and Natural England which have indicated we can resume works.

“Construction work to the existing crematorium building within West Cemetery is progressing well.”

Great crested newts are a protected species, which means the animals and their eggs, breeding sites and resting places are protected by law. Natural England runs a licensing scheme in parts of the country, which allows work on sites where the newts have been found but involves developers having to create or restore habitat.

The council says its initial ecological surveys had not revealed evidence of newts but a sighting was reported close to the site, which was investigated and DNA samples taken from pond areas in the adjacent allotment.