Fined: Queen's Park property developers that illegally destroyed a bat roost
PUBLISHED: 16:59 17 September 2015 | UPDATED: 17:10 17 September 2015
A property development company based in Queen's Park has admitted illegally destroying a bat roost despite being warned twice that they were nesting inside buildings earmarked for demolition.
Today at Hendon Magistrates’ Court, City and Westminster Developments Ltd pleaded guilty to offences under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
The court heard the company, which is based in Aston Mews in Kilburn Lane, ignored advice from two surveyors that the building had a high probability of being home to the protected Common Pipistrelle bats by carrying out the demolition.
The company were advised to carry out a second inspection after a first ecological survey showed there was a high probability the building was roosting bats.
It paid a different company to do the second inspection after the first surveyors refused its request to alter the probability to low.
Despite a second survey identifying it was roosting bats, a number flew out of three out of the four buildings during the inspection, the company went ahead with the demolition on August 19.
The company was reported to the Met’s Wildlife Crime Unit and today it was fined £4,500, with £450 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
DC Sarah Bailey, investigating officer, said: “In Britain and Europe all species of bats are protected in law; however the number of bats in London is declining. This is mainly because many of their traditional roosting and foraging sites are being destroyed by land and building developments; as well as home improvements such as loft conversions and timber treatments.
“If homeowners or developers are planning to do any work on buildings they should first check whether bats are present as some can roost in the smallest crevices. Bats are a unique and important part of London’s ecology and it’s important we protect the wildlife that exists alongside us in London and do our best to preserve it for the future.”
Joe Nunez-Mino, from the Bat Conservation Trust, said: “Bats are protected due to the large historical declines in their numbers. Bats have a low reproductive rate and are particularly vulnerable to a range of threats including the destruction and disturbance of their roosts.
“The Bat Conservation Trust works in conjunction with others to provide solutions to improve conservation action for bats. As ever the Bat Conservation Trust regrets that prosecutions are needed to uphold the legislation that protects bats and their roosts but acknowledges that this is necessary to hold offenders to account for their illegal actions.”