Monday, 8 July 2013

Bolton man fined for destroying a bat roost

Fined for destroying a bat roost
July 2013. A Chorley Magistrates Court heard a case against Mr David Dalton, 33, of Bolton, who had been charged with destroying a bat roost. Following a guilty plea Mr Dalton was fined £540 with £100 costs and a £54 surcharge (Maximum penalties for destroying a bat roost are six months imprisonment and or a £5000 fine).

Offences against bats are one of the UK's wildlife crime priorities of identical standing to the illegal trade in endangered species and the persecution of birds of prey.
Brown long-eared bats are particularly loyal to their roost sites and will return
 to the same site each year for many years so retaining and protecting
 bat roost sites is essential for the survival of the species.
 The Bat Conservation Trust is the only national organisation solely
 devoted to the conservation of bats and their habitats in the UK.
 It runs a national helpline to provide advice and information on bats.
 The Bat Helpline receives more than 9,000 calls a year.
Tel: 0845 1300 228 or visit .

Demolished building he knew contained bats
Mr Dalton is the owner of property in Rivington Lane that he wished to develop. He engaged the services of an ecological consultant who surveyed the buildings and found a roost of brown-long eared bats. To allow the building to be developed a licence would have been required outlining how the needs of bats were being considered. Mr Dalton demolished the building without a licence and destroyed the bat roost.

‘Ignored the law'
Wildlife Crime Officer for Lancashire Police Mark Thomas said: Lancashire Police take every report of wildlife crime very seriously. "We have worked hard to bring this case to court, people can't just start carrying out building renovation work and think they don't have to have the correct surveys and licences to cover the work they intend to do. The reason they have to do this is to protect certain species in this case bats and their roosts. Working together with the Bat Conservation Trust, we put together a package for criminal proceedings against a local land and property owner Mr Dalton from the Rivington area who chose to ignore the law and the codes of practice. It is the responsibility of property owners and developers to ensure all building work has had appropriate ecological surveys undertaken."

Pete Charleston Investigations Officer for the Bat Conservation Trust explains: "Bat roosts are very important sites for conservation. The loss of bat roosts is thought to be one reason why bat populations declined dramatically in the 20th Century. By following conditions set out in a license the impact of building, development and demolition on bats can be minimized. If you plan works and follow the mitigation measures as outlined in the license, projects can run smoothly; if you don't it is a serious offence that puts bat populations at risk." The Bat Conservation Trust have provided support to Lancashire Police during this investigation and are very grateful both to the Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their efforts in bringing this case to court.

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