6th February 2016
On Friday 29th January 2016 Mr George Plant of Hallow, Worcestershire appeared before Worcester Magistrates Court where he pleaded guilty to one charge of destroying the breeding or resting place of Myotis bats. He was fined £1000, and has to pay a victim surcharge of £100 and £135 costs.
In 2013 Mr Plant applied for listed building consent to re-roof his cottage in Hallow. Planners asked him to provide a bat survey and in May 2014 a consultant ecologist visited the site where he saw evidence of over 20 Myotis bats roosting in the roof. The ecologists report recommended that further survey work needed to be undertaken and that a licence would be needed if the work was to be undertaken when the animals were present. Mr Plant did not ask for any further survey work to be undertaken, re-roofing took place during 2015.
During the hearing Mr Plant told the court that he had received the survey report but had not read it! When imposing the sanction the magistrates highlighted the fact that the offence had been committed by an individual rather than by a company, suggesting, to us, that the penalty may have been higher had this been a corporate offence.
BCT as part of the investigation had provided a conservation impact statement evidencing that by not following lawful process Mr Plant had saved over £2000. Despite this the level of fine exceeds the average. We will however continue to press for sanctions that are truly dissuasive.
We would like to thank both West Mercia Police and CPS for their work in investigating and prosecuting this matter. This is the second conviction for bat crime in recent months where the investigation was undertaken by PC Julian Ward.