Bellway fined £600,000 for destroying a bats roost in London

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Bellway house builders have been fined a record a £600,000 for destroying bats roost that it knew that were protected and roosting at the site.

Bellway, admitted in court that the site at Artillery Place, Greenwich, south-east London, they knowingly destroyed the bats roost in 2018.

The soprano pipistrelle bats roost were well documented and Bellway admitted that the made a grave mistake by carrying out the work without the licence all bat species are protected.

David Hawtin who was the Inspector at the time singled out Sgt Simon Henderson and PC Giles Balestrini for praise in their roles in the investigation and subsequent prosecution.

Bellway, which also agreed to pay costs of £30,000 and agreed to make a £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust.

Inspector David Hawtin continued to say that: “With the expert assistance of colleagues from specialist units within the Met, the officers constructed evidence to prove that the company had indeed committed an offence by carrying out work at a site where bats were known to inhabit,” he continued to comment adding that.

“Bellway Homes has admitted responsibility for this and I hope it reinforces the message that this legislation is there for a reason and should be adhered to.”

The hearing which was held at Woolwich crown court the Bellway Homes pleaded guilty to destroying or damaging a live breeding site or resting place of a wild animal.

They admitted the offence of disturbing a European protected species between 17 March and 17 August 2018.

Bellway Homes had been notified in planning documents that it would first need to obtain the appropriate mitigation and a Natural England European protected species licence.