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Builder guilty of destruction of three protected bat roosts and ordered to pay £111.00

02 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Pipistrelle bat

A builder has received a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £111.00 for illegally removing a roof at a property and destroying 3 separate bat roosts where protected Common, Soprano Pipistrelles and Whiskered bats were known to be roosting.

Mr Robert Roberts from Caerphilly pleaded guilty to breaching the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) at Newport Magistrates Court on Monday 25 March 2024.

A full ecological survey completed by an independent ecologist employed by the house owner showed that the bat roosts were present at Alpine Cottage in Gelligaer.

Protected

All three species are priority species in the UK and Europe and are protected by both UK and European Wildlife law.

The presence of the bats meant that the roof of the building could not be removed without a European Protected Species License and appropriate mitigation in place.

The builder failed to apply for the Licence from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) before removing the roof.

In court, Mr Roberts argued that a breakdown in communication between himself and the house owner had resulted in the roof removal taking place too early.

He further argued that despite removing the entire roof, the bats had now returned and that the bats had thus not been harmed.

Unfortunately, the lack of a licence from NRW further ensured that no ecological support during the roof removal was in place.

An onsite ecologist, present during the roof removal, would have been able to carefully monitor and ensure the safety of any more bats that may have been present thus protecting any bats still in situ.

“Devastating”

PC Mark Powell on secondment with Natural Resources Wales Industry Regulation team said: “Officers from NRW are successfully working with police forces across Wales, and the National Wildlife Crime Unit to investigate and prosecute those responsible for committing wildlife and rural crime offences.

“The ecologists that compiled the original survey at the address confirmed that there were three separate roosts present and two of those roosts, they allege, were maternity roosts.

“This destruction of confirmed Bat Roosts without ecological onsite support and without the European Protected Species Licence, is shocking.

“The loss of two maternity roosts is simply devastating and whilst it is fortunate that bats have returned to the address, the potential loss of a full years’ breeding cycle may have impacted the species in the local area.

“Legislation is in place and is designed to protect our already dwindling protected native species.

“The conservation of bats, and other protected species, must be ensured if future generations are to benefit from their continued existence.”

To report an environmental incident, please contact NRW’s Incident communication line open 24/7, on 0300 065 3000.


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Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
7 days ago

Is that really just £111??

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
7 days ago

The £111 is for court costs. There was no fine!

Gary H
Gary H
7 days ago

As a former JP, I suggest no-one judge a case on a short report. A conditional discharge is still a conviction and is often given when there are substantial mitigating circumstances. But a fairly small disturbance of a Bat roost (remember they came back) is nothing to compare with NRW not prosecuting most releases of effluent into our rivers.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
7 days ago
Reply to  Gary H

It was more than a “small disturbance” of three species of bats that are meant to be protected by law, two of the roosts believed to be maternity roosts with “the potential loss of a full years’ breeding cycle” and a negative impact on population size.

Grievous
Grievous
6 days ago
Reply to  Gary H

It’s still a joke ,what’s the point of having laws to protect a protected species if there’s no real punishment ,the UK are a laughing stock when it comes to strict enforcement of laws on protected species ,it’s a farce.

Glen
Glen
6 days ago

If it had been Dwr Cymru pumping raw sewage into a river, NRW would have looked the other way.

Grievous
Grievous
6 days ago

What a joke ,£110 fine should have got,£110,000 fine ,these weak laws send a message it’s ok to destroy protected species habitats and get away with pretty much no punishment at all ,UK laws are a joke

L. Ricketts
L. Ricketts
5 days ago

Conditional discharge will do no good but an £11,000 fine might make him take notice. £111.00 is derisory and an insult to wildlife and all who spend their time protecting it.

Bert
Bert
3 days ago

Was the magistrate wearing a clown suit.

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