YORK'S outer ring road upgrade is being delayed - by newts.

And a report warns hold ups to the outer ring road project could have “an impact” on the new Community Stadium - but a council spokesman said it will not cause any delay to the build or opening date and any roadworks will be carefully coordinated.

Great crested newts are a protected species and a licence is needed from Natural England for any work that may disturb or damage their habitats.

The creatures have been found near the site of the Monks Cross roundabout - on the south west side of the A1237 - where work is due to take place on upgrading the road.

A City of York Council report says the local authority needs to purchase nearby land to create a new home for the newts. But negotiations with landowners are “time-consuming” and a compulsory purchase order - which would enable the council to buy land without the consent of the owner - may be needed.

Tony Clarke, head of transport at the council, said: “We survey for protected species before carrying out major schemes, and we found Great Crested Newts at the Monks Cross A1237 roundabout site.

“We need to provide a hibernaculum [where the animals can shelter in winter] to secure the long-term protection of the area’s newt population. We’re looking at where this can go as part of the agreements we’re negotiating with several landowners around the site, and this has caused the delay to the roundabout.”

The report says: “This could delay commencement of phase two Monks Cross junction upgrade and impact on the opening of the Community Stadium.”

A council spokesman said: “This will not cause any delay to the build or opening date, and our project teams are coordinating roadworks to minimise the impact on the road network and the surrounding communities.”

The roundabout plans include widening lanes to ease congestion as part of the £38 million A1237 upgrade.