Posted by: haworthpc | June 26, 2014

Ivy Bank Mill and Operation Bat

IVY BANK MILL AND OPERATION BAT

The developers of this site have been granted conditional permission to demolish the old mill and wheel house.  One of those conditions was a survey regarding bat habitation of the site.  All bats are protected by law.  On initial contact with the planning department, on Monday last, when a demolition contractor arrived at the site, I was informed there was no license to destroy a bat habitat on record for this site.  Bats are historically known to inhabit the ruined mill.  Following advice from the Bat Preservation Society, I contacted both the Planning Officer dealing with this site under ‘Operation Bat’, and the local wildlife police officer.

The Planning Officer from BMDC confirmed to me by email that “Following the previous survey work carried out, as part of the planning application, it was established there was a roost within the former mill. Consequently, prior to demolition works, a bat mitigation licence would be required from Natural England. To date, the developer has not applied for this, citing issues with accessing the area of the building in question. It’s been confirmed with the agent that the application for a licence is not dependent on accessing the building and a licence should be applied for, prior to carrying out any works including demolition. The licence would be submitted, with a method statement, outlining how the presence of bats would be mitigated. Only once this process was completed could demolition be carried out. Otherwise, as a criminal offence the applicant would leave himself open to prosecution”

Following on from my call to the police Wildlife Officer on this matter, he is now in contact with the developers and is dealing with this matter.

The developers have confirmed to the Wildlife Officer that they are removing vegetation on at this point. I understand several parties, including the developer, attended the site late last night.  I am assuming this was to carry out another survey, but I am awaiting clarity on this point.

However, this morning two large trucks of stone have been removed from the sight.  I have let the police and the planning officer know of this.  The Wildlife Officer is due on shift at 4.00pm and will be contact me then to update me on the situation.

This is an ongoing situation and I will update you as soon as I have more information. It is likely that the demolition sub-contractor wishes to obtain as much stone from the site as possible.  This must, however, be balanced with the need not to disturb bats, which are a protected species in law.  The penalties for destroying a bat habitat can be significant – and are £500 or 6 months in prison PER BAT.

I am co-ordinating with both the police and planning officer to ensure that the required licensing and laws are adhered to, to ensure the safety of protected wildlife, and I will provide updates as events unfold.

Further update 27.06.2014:  The Developer attending this site on Wednesday Night (25th June) and had a further survey carried out by Brooks Ecological.  Although there was bat habitation at the Mill last February, the developer’s survey appears to show that there is no bat roost there at present.  Accordingly Bradford Metropolitan Council’s planning department has been issued with a report to this effect, and demolition of the ruined mill will therefore re-commence.

The Parish Council is keen to play its part in the conservation and protection of wildlife in the area, and we are currently collating information on wildlife habitats throughout the Parish.  If you know of a wildlife habitat of interest, especially one at possible risk, please contact us and let us know. 

Cllr Angel Kershaw

Vice-Chair Haworth Cross Roads and Stanbury Parish Council

Chair – Environment Working Group

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