East Devon Councillors commit to the protection of rare bats

From a Correspondent:

It is good news that the bats in Beer Quarry and Caves will now have their protected habitat status recognised by the planning officers in East Devon District Council. Even the East Devon Area of Natural Beauty is getting in on the act in their latest e-newsletter.

Cllr Jess Bailey (Ind, West Hill and Aylesbeare) wants to see even more action, including for bat protection to be included in every planning application. See Radio Exe News www.radioexe.co.uk 

Why is all this necessary? There are laws to protect these species, if the LPA follow the directives and adhere to legislation, permission should be denied. It seems surprising that this should need to be formally recognised when bats are already protected.

Well, the residents of East Budleigh would agree to the need for more formal procedures in planning.  

At the same time as the Beer Quarry project, supported amongst others by Clinton Devon Estates (CDE), was being actively promoted, the bats of East Budleigh were threatened by a planning application, with consent given in 2019.

CDE submitted a planning application to demolish the barn behind the Pound which was believed to house 14 different species of bats. (A dead horseshoe bat was found in the area). Despite heroic efforts by residents the barn was allowed to be demolished and a dwelling built.  Despite “mitigation”, trees and hedges were removed, and a retrospective application allowed considerable light pollution from the new property. At a stroke the flight lines and foraging areas that the bats are so dependent upon were removed.

Both Cllrs Jess Bailey and Geoff Jung mentioned the need to protect “pinch points” flight routes in urban areas.

See: The fight to protect East Budleigh bats but no need to fight in beer