Thursday, 18 June 2015

Devon bats future to be decided at High Court

If the High Court allows the building of 230 houses the future of a population of one of northern Europe’s most threatened bats, the greater horseshoe bat, will be in jeopardy, says the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The Trust is bringing the Judicial Review against a planning decision made by Teignbridge District Council to grant permission for up to 230 houses to be built on land which lies just 170 metres from an internationally important site where female greater horseshoe bats congregate to give birth and raise their young. Devon Wildlife Trust has taken this unusual step in the court because the Rocklands development on the edge of Chudleigh, in South Devon, will pose a serious threat to the future of these rare bats.

Chudleigh’s population of greater horseshoe bats is one of the largest left in the UK but overall the species is in serious decline. The Devon bats use a site close to the Chudleigh town centre as a place to hibernate in winter and as a summer maternity roost in which to raise their young. The caves have protection from disturbance and development, and form part of the South Hams Special Area of Conservation. However, this same protection does not extend to the surrounding green fields and hedgerows which act as vital feeding grounds and flightpaths for the bats. It is the decision of Teignbridge District Council to permit a development of 230 houses in this bat-friendly landscape that Devon Wildlife Trust is taking court action to try to overturn.


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