Housing development a ‘threat’ to bats?

PUBLISHED: 13:00 28 August 2015

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VILLAGERS say they are worried a large scale housing development on a greenfield site could threaten the area’s bat population.

Housing developer Gladman wants to build 70 homes off Chestnut Drive, in Claverham, on land known locally as ‘the field’.

However, concerns have been raised by both villagers and a wildlife action group that the development would threaten several bat species, such as the protected greater horseshoe bat and the serotine bat.

Greater horseshoe bats are one of Britain’s rarest mammals and they use the field to forage.

In a letter to North Somerset Council’s planning department, Dr Gary Barker said: “While the extreme pressures to develop land may well prevent a planning inspector from refusing development on this basis alone, this threat to Britain’s rarest mammal must, at the very least, weigh most heavily against development when considered in the planning balance.

“I propose any reasonable individual would conclude the loss of this habitat, combined with encroachment of artificial lighting on ancient hedgerows, cannot safely be assumed to have no detrimental effect on the local bats.”

The Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) has also said it is concerned about the bats.

It said: “The proposed development site off Chestnut Drive is a very sensitive site ecologically.

“The presence of bats will not stop development. However, a better understanding of bats in the landscape will help shape future development for both our benefits.”

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