‘Batty’ planning changes could threaten wildlife

Pipistrelle bat resting' (c) Hugh Clark Sussex Wildlife Trust
Pipistrelle bat resting' (c) Hugh Clark Sussex Wildlife Trust

Changes to the planning 
system could put bats and other wildlife at risk say environmental experts.

Biodiversity officers at 
Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) are concerned that recent changes to the 
planning process will stop them identifying protected species and habitats in developments.

As of this year, they will no longer get to check householders’ plans relating to loft conversions, barn 
conversions and two-storey extensions before applications are registered.

It will be up to the applicant to comply with the law concerning wildlife.

But the biodiversity team say people won’t know if they’ve got bats in their roof or not, or may not comply – and this could result in the loss of 60 to 80 bat roosts a year.

Last year, the team responded to over 1,000 planning applications, ensuring 
protected species and habitats were taken into account.

But under the new rules, they will only have to be 
consulted at pre-validation stage on major developments or where there is a record of protected species or habitats.