NewsMonday 6th November 2017
Brimhay - The Truth
The police role within this dispute has been to investigate any offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.
We have attended the site daily and liaised with all parties involved. Concerns at this site have been raised by members of the public in relation to any species of bats and dormice present at the site of the clearance. These specific species are designated as European Protected Species (EPS) and as such are granted special protection under these acts. The police do not deal with Bat flyways, these are dealt with at a planning level and Natural England advise in this arena.
Having liaised with both Natural England (NE) and the Professional Ecologists surveying the site we are at this time happy that no EPS are present at this specific site. We are advised that the methods employed are reasonable and proportionate and continue under the guidance of a professional ecology firm.
Ecological surveys have been conducted for all EPS and other wildlife within the last 3 years at this site. In the first survey just under 3 years ago 1 nut showing evidence that a dormouse had fed upon it was located. 2 more recent specific surveys using the same methodology have found no evidence of Dormice at the site.
Ecologists are on site and advising contractors on the best way of clearance during the work taking place. Any persons concerned that vegetation was being cleared to less than 0.5m above ground level can be reassured that this specific methodology is employed at a different time of year to November. The method currently being used at this time is correct and in line with national guidance. We are reassured that the developers are still taking precautions by employing the services of professional ecologists whilst this current work is been undertaken despite the lack of evidence of EPS at the site
During the surveys there were no bats found to be using the specific area as roosting or resting places (again the offence that Police would investigate).
Whilst at the site concerns were raised by members of the public around the quality of the surveys. The surveys have been conducted by professionals to strict methodology and the best type of survey has been employed for the specific area to be worked upon. Other surveys suggested at the site by members of the public would have been ineffective within the specific area concerned.
Licences were discussed with NE by ecologists. However after looking at the lack of evidence from the 3 surveys conducted by professional ecologists around the presence of EPS the methods proposed were found to be a reasonable and balanced approach without the need for a Natural England Licence.
Wildlife Crime Officer PC Josh Marshall