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Bat Colony (Raf Halton)

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress so far and expected timetable of measures to investigate and manage the bat colony at the Princess Mary Hospital site, RAF Halton. [129398]

Following the completion of the bat survey on the Princess Mary Hospital site in July this year, and at the request of English Nature, Defence Estates has commissioned WSP Environmental (licensed bat ecologists) to undertake evening emergent and dawn swarming surveys to establish the population size of each roost. These surveys will be completed by the middle of September.Based on the results of these surveys, WSP Environmental will prepare a mitigation strategy that will outline the measures to be put in place to ensure the protection of the bats. This mitigation strategy will be submitted in draft to English Nature and Aylesbury Vale District Council on the 19 September and subject to their agreement will be incorporated into the Environmental Statement which will be submitted with the outline planning application for the Princess Mary Hospital site at the end of the September.Application for the DEFRA licence, implementation of the mitigation measures and the management of the bat roosts will be the responsibility of the eventual purchaser of the site.