Rare Greater Horseshoe Bats at risk from developers

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Greater Horseshoe Bat

Evidence of one of Britain’s rarest bats – the Greater Horseshoe – has been recorded on the edge of a Congresbury field that is up for housing development.

Developers Strongvox have applied for planning permission to erect 24 houses on the field on the east side of Brinsea Road.

In August and September 2016, Nomis Park resident Judy Ashley had bat detectors – loaned by Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group – placed in her garden backing onto the proposed site.

In a letter to North Somerset Council objecting to the scheme, Judy Ashley writes: “The Greater Horseshoe is one of Britain’s rarest bats, with a total population of approximately 6000 individuals”**.  In Britain, probably only 14 populations now survive, centred round summer maternity roosts in south west England and south Wales.  One of these maternity roosts is in Kingswood and Urchin Wood.

As well as recording Greater and Lesser Horshoe bats, the equipment picked up signals from other bats including Noctule, Serotine, Common and Soprano Pipistrelles and Myotis and Brown Longeared bats.

Judy who has lived in Nomis Park since 2000 considers, from her own observations, that the field provides a good foraging and commuting area for bats. Before the hay is cut the long grass and wild flowers provide a rich source of nectar for insects, butterflies and moths. The field margins and hedgerows left undisturbed are another excellent habitat for insects.

Mrs Ashley concludes by calling on the council to reject the application.

**quote from an English Nature leaflet ‘Managing landscapes for Greater Horseshoe bats’.

John Mills John Mills

Journalist and jazz saxophonist John Mills has lived in Congresbury for more than 25 years, moving to the village from West London with his wife Rocki and 10 month old son, Sam in 1979. After a few years in Clevedon, John and Rocki moved back to the village in 2006, renovating and extending a bungalow in Yew Tree Park. Sadly, Rocki died in 2013. John, 71 keeps busy musically, playing with Cadbury Wind Band, with his son in the Sam Mills Quintet, and with a newly formed duo, Sax in the City with fellow Congresbury saxophonist and vocalist, Louise Harris.


One Comment

  1. Andrew Chamberlain says:

    Having lived in cobthorn way, I have seen them flying over the fields where the building is planneded. They also roost in the large trees on the edge of the cobthorn trust farm. It seems that whoever did the survey chose their areas and times very carefully to avoid them. I have also seen lesser horseshoe and serotines along with many of the smaller and myotis species. Habitat and location suggests daubentons would be present also. Has any one got a professional survey done or informed natural England?? They will appoint a surveyor and impose restrictions if present. I’m pretty sure that amateur observations however good won’t stand up in court.

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