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Company handed largest ever fine in relation to a wildlife crime - Bat Conservation Trust

On Tuesday, 8 December Bellway Homes were fined for destroying a soprano pipistrelle roost at a construction site in Greenwich in 2017. Bellway Homes has been ordered to pay a fine of £600,000 by Woolwich Crown Court with further costs on top (further details HERE). It is our understanding that the company intends to make a £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust which will be ring-fenced, when received, to continue fighting wildlife crime.

This is possibly the biggest fine ever for a wildlife crime which sends a clear message that wildlife crime does not pay, that conservation must be taken seriously and that laws and planning policies matter and must be respected, not be ignored. Such laws are not simply red tape, they exist to protect our vulnerable wildlife. Taking bats and other wildlife into account as early as possible during the planning of a development will minimise the risk of additional costs, unnecessary delays and avoid prosecutions.

As ever the Bat Conservation Trust regrets the need for any prosecution for offences relating to bats. But equally we do ask that investigations and prosecutions into such matters are undertaken in an effective manner. Bellway Homes is a case that serves as an example of poor practice which could easily have been avoided if good ecological advice and the law had been followed. Taking wildlife into account during development proposals is essential and does not have to result in unreasonable costs or time delays if good advice is sought and followed early on in the planning process.

To find out more about BCT’s wildlife crime project please see: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/bearing-witness-for-wildlife/bat-crime

Posted on: 11 December 2020

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