3rd October 2023

Developer fined 14K for breaching Bat Mitigation Licence

Brown long-eared bats. Image by Hugh Clark.

A Derby-based property developer has been ordered to pay £14,435 for breaching the conditions of a European Protected Species Bat Mitigation Licence.

Breeding site for brown long-eared bats

A European Protected Species Bat Mitigation Licence was issued to the defendant in October 2020 in order for him to carry out the work on the development legally while taking the bats into account, including the presence of a brown long-eared bat maternity roost.

The court was told that Natural England’s Wildlife Licensing Service had been made aware of potential breaches of the licence in October 2022.

Natural England prosecutes

Natural England (NE) is the Government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. They prosecuted because the breaches impacted the welfare and Favourable Conservation Status of the bat species involved.

Tragically, the breaches left brown long-eared bats with no suitable maternity roosting provision on site. Additionally, they also significantly reduced the suitability of roosting opportunities for common pipistrelle bats, as well as endangering the welfare of both species.

In sentencing the defendant, the court noted that he had acted in contravention to the professional advice provided by both their own ecological consultant and NE. Also, the defendant did not carry out work to mitigate the harmful impact on bats when so instructed by NE.

BCT’s Wildlife Crime Project

NE’s Enforcement Team led a multi-agency site visit in February 2023 and found that the defendant had breached the conditions of his licence on four counts. You can find full details of the breaches of licence in NE’s press release.

Steph Bird-Halton, NE’s National Delivery Director said enforcement action would be taken when people break the rules and thanked the BCT for their part in this groundbreaking case. ‘...where individuals or companies place the welfare or Favourable Conservation Status of protected species at risk, we will not hesitate to take targeted and proportionate enforcement action. I would like to thank the Bat Conservation Trust’s Wildlife Crime Project for the assistance they provided in this case.’

The BCT’s Wildlife Crime Project specialises in wildlife crime relating to bats and is headed up by our Wildlife Crime Project Officer Mark Goulding. He said: 'The BCT's Wildlife Crime Project has taken a step forward in providing support on a Natural England enforcement team investigation. We hope to continue this successful partnership work into the future.'