16th March 2022

Wildlife Crime Prosecution in Wales

Natural Resources Wales successfully prosecuted two developers from the Merthyr Tydfil area in March 2022. The defendants pleaded guilty at Newport Magistrates Court to damaging a roost / resting place of bats when they converted the Old Drill Hall, Pontmorlais West in Merthyr Tydfil.

They failed to obtain the necessary planning permission and carried out the development without the appropriate European Protected Species Bat Licences despite knowing that there were bats roosting in the building. "Their fines totaling in excess of £2,000 should stand as a warning to other developers in Wales who carry out work without first obtaining the appropriate Natural Resource Wales licences and without taking the presence of bats into account in their development plan."

PC1154 Mark Powell, the Natural Resources Wales seconded police officer who successfully prosecuted the developers, said, “The conservation of bats and other protected species must be ensured if future generations are to benefit from their continued existence. Bats are a very important indicator species that face ever increasing challenges every day. Hopefully this prosecution will serve as a reminder to developers and anyone carrying out work on buildings containing bats that they must follow the appropriate guidelines and ensure that any construction work is carefully completed within the law. I would like to thank the National Wildlife Crime Unit for their investigative advice and support, the Species Team at NRW and also the Bat Conservation Trust who carry out excellent work which helps to protect the species.”

BCT’s Wildlife Crime Project Officer, Mark Goulding, said: “We are very grateful to PC Mark Powell as well as partner agencies for all their hard work to achieve this prosecution. BCT’s Investigations Project will continue to work to prevent these crimes from happening and supporting law enforcement where necessary.”

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