Company fined for demolition of a building containing a bat roost

Image of The Ferns, a former social club in Newport boarded up

A building design and construction company, has been fined £2,605 for demolishing a building in Lliswerry, Newport where protected Pipistrelles bats were known to be roosting.

Mr Christopher Davey, the director of Your Space Projects Limited, pleaded guilty to breaching the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 (as amended) at Newport Magistrates Court on 9 January.  

Full ecological surveys completed by an independent ecologist employed by Mr Davey, showed that a bat roost was present at The Ferns, a former social club on Liswerry Road.

Pipistrelles bats are a 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 building could not be demolished without a European Protected Species License and appropriate mitigation in place.

In court, Mr Davey argued that a breakdown in communication between the company and their sub-contractor had resulted in the demolition taking place too early. Unfortunately, this prevented discussions and ecological assistance being  put in place which would have protected any bats still in situ.

Judge Toms stated that the negligent failure of the company resulted in the loss of a day roost, and she ordered that the company pay fines and costs totalling £2,605.00.

PC Mark Powell on secondment with Natural Resources Wales Industry Regulation team said:

Officers from Natural Resources Wales 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. 
This demolition of a confirmed bat roost without ecological onsite support, and without the European Protected Species Licence, will 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. Bats are a very important indicator species that face ever increasing challenges.
We hope this prosecution will serve as a reminder to developers, and anyone carrying out work to buildings that are home to bats, that they must follow the appropriate guidelines and ensure that any construction work is carefully completed within the law.
Multi agency cooperation has never been better and together we will investigate and prosecute offenders. I would like to thank the National Wildlife Crime Unit for their investigative advice and support, the Species Team at Natural Resources Wales and also the Bat Conservation Trust who carry out excellent work which helps to protect the species.