The £600,000 bat!

Bellway Homes are handed the ‘largest ever fine’ for wildlife crime over demolition work at bat habitat

The developer carried out the damaging work despite the presence of the protected creatures having been noted the year before.

By Sabah Choudhry, news reporter

Friday 11 December 2020 13:26,

The developer has
Image:Bellway Homes has been fined £600,000 – the largest such penalty ever handed out by a court for a wildlife crime

A major housebuilding company has been fined £600,000 for carrying out demolition work at a site known to be inhabited by bats – the largest such penalty a court has ever handed out for a wildlife crime, police say.

Bellway Homes was investigated by the Metropolitan Police for “damaging or destroying” a breeding site and resting place for bats at a construction site in Greenwich, southeast London.

The property developer admitted guilt on Tuesday at Woolwich Crown Court and was handed the hefty fine, and also ordered to pay costs of £30,000.

All bats in the UK are European Protected Species
Image:All bats in the UK are listed as a European Protected Species

The case came to light after Bellway conducted demolition work at the site in Artillery Place in 2018.

The presence of soprano pipistrelle bats had been noted in 2017 – and Bellway had been informed in planning documents that if it wished to work on the site, then it would need the appropriate mitigation and license.

However, in December 2018, the local council notified police that demolition work had in fact been carried out by the developer without the required permissions.

The planning officer for the particular development confirmed the company attempted to remove that aspect of the planning requirements – but the move had been rejected.

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