A new nature protection group has been formed in East Budleigh to try to save eleven species of bat from having their habitat destroyed. Six of these species are amongst the rarest found in Britain. The story has broken today simultaneously on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Spotlight, presented by Adrian Campbell, and in the Exmouth Journal.
Owl will comment after using the following Journal story to set the scene:
“Landowners have defended their plan to redevelop an area of land in East Budleigh amid concerns for wildlife living on the site.
Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) has applied for permission to demolish a barn at The Pound, in Lower Budeigh, and replace it with a new dwelling.
Residents have raised concerns about the bats that have traditionally called the barn their home.
There are also concerns about access to the site; it is argued to be through the centre of The Pound, which is claimed to be in the village’s built-up area boundary.
CDE say the new building will provide ‘conditions more suitable’ for bats, including a dedicated loft area and ground floor with free flight access for the animals.
Writing in objection to the application, Mr and Mrs Moyle said: “We should be proud that we have so many rare bats, including gray long-eared bats, which are very rare.
“Building this so-called bat house means we have no proof that the bats will use it.
“It is being built a long way from the barn, so we are likely to lose out rare bats.”
Another letter, from a Mrs Maynard, said: “This is an absolutely ridiculous and totally unnecessary attempt to develop what is at present is an extremely pretty corner of a very lovely village.”
A spokesman for Clinton Devon Estates said: “The new building, whilst smaller than the existing barn, has been designed to provide conditions more suitable for breeding bats in the summer; for example, it will have a slate roof to provide a warm loft, as opposed to a draughty metal shed. “It will also have a cool ground floor to provide fairly stable winter temperature and high humidity, with the aim of providing a potential winter roost.
“For horseshoe and long-eared bat species, a dedicated loft area and ground floor with free flight access will be provided.
“For crevice-dwelling bat species, roosting provision will be provided in various places within the bat barn, including bat slates, a raised ridge tile, timber cladding, a Schwegler bat tube and internal crevices.”
CDE providing a brand new Des. Res. for free? There must be a catch.
Owl fears for these bats.
Are they going to be sent away for a holiday by the sea whilst their ancient barn (oldest still standing in East Budleigh) is bulldozed away and their new bat loft constructed?
Temporary social housing is a non-starter. As mentioned in one of the Spotlight interviews, what are they going to do for food. They feed on moths but the overgrown habitat of the moths is also going to be bulldozed?
And how are they going to navigate when the trees they use for echo location have also been razed to the ground as well?
Owl has many, many bat friends who join it in its nocturnal foreys and is VERY protective of them.
However, for the status of Clinton Devon Estates environmental credentials see just a few recent Owl stories here (there are many more):