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Derek Ching
Derek Ching,
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Developers beware - a fine that bites
12 May 2016

A property developer has been fined after destroying a bat roost.

The Facts

A property developer and his company were convicted in 2014 after destroying a bat roost in an empty commercial property in Matlock.

The redevelopment of the property was carried out despite an ecological report identifying the loft space of the building as a resting place for brown-long eared bats.

The works carried out resulted in the destruction of the bat roost.

The Decision

Earlier this month the Crown Court Judge ordered the defendant to pay a fine under the Proceeds of Crime Order. This Order ensures that criminal offenders do not benefit financially from their criminal behaviour.

Whilst the criminal conviction was quashed it was agreed by both parties that the financial benefit to the developer and his company was £5,737.

The Judge determined that the offence was not intentional but ‘at best’ negligent and fined the firm £3,000 plus an additional £2,000 in costs.

The Warning

The Bat Conservation Trust which assisted the police and the prosecution said the fine sent a strong message to developers to the effect that they cannot expect to benefit from criminal behaviour.

It is of vital importance that property developers use, rely and act on the findings reported in any surveys carried out by their expert advisors. If you, even unwittingly, act in a way that causes harm to wildlife this will be a criminal offence and you may be liable to a fine.

If you are in any doubt whatsoever of your duties, as identified in your ecological survey (or any other surveys commissioned), you should always seek clarification to ensure your actions are compliant and legal.

For more information or to find out about how the Property and Development team can help you please contact Derek Ching on 0118 952 7246 or email [email protected].

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.

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