Natural bat boxes at Eaton Hall
Six ‘natural’ bat boxes have been erected at Tarmac’s Eaton Hall Quarry near Congleton to make a home for Soprano and Common Pipistrelle bats.
As part of the Quarry’s next phase of workings, several mature oak trees had to be removed. Surveys indicated a number of these trees provided potential bat roost habitat and as all bats are protected species under the European Habitats Directive a licence to disturb was obtained from Natural England.
Selective felling of the trees proceeded in accordance with the terms of the licence. As part of the mitigation for the loss of potential habitat for the bats, it was decided to try a more innovative approach by using natural materials harvested from the trees being felled.
Ian Thomas, Eaton Hall’s manager, said: “We worked with Halletec the Environmental Consultant and Pearce Environmental, the Contractor, to replicate the bats preferred roost habitat by reuse of some of the oak tree limbs that contained natural crevices used by bats, and erected them in trees within nearby woodland in another area of the site that would not be affected by any current or future working.”
Alistair Duncan, Halletec’s managing director, said: “This was a fascinating project that involved several protected species of which the bats were but one element. The need to fell trees containing identified roosts provided an opportunity to be a little innovative by using limbs from the felled trees along with deft use of a chain saw to mimic naturally occurring holes that are likely to be attractive to the bats in which they can roost. These have been placed in adjacent woodland. This not only recycles the timber but also provides a more familiar natural roost for bats and also saves on the cost of specialist bat boxes.”
Tarmac’s Eaton Hall Quarry is one of the UK’s premier sources of silica sand. The Quarry is a strategically important source of high quality industrial sand that has a number of specialist applications including foundry for making cores and moulds as well as block paving and a variety of sports applications.
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23 August 2012