Protected bat species found on proposed HS2 rail route

Christopher Prideaux in front of a tree on his land that has Bechstein's bats living it and could be affected by HS2
Christopher Prideaux in front of a tree on his land that has Bechstein's bats living it and could be affected by HS2
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A new colony of protected bats has been discovered right near the proposed HS2 line.

The roost of Bechstein’s bats have been found on Christopher Prideux’s land at Doddershall near Quainton.

A Bechstein's Bat at Finem Woods near Calvert - provided by Wendy Tobitt at BBWOT. ''Credit Toby Thorne of the North ucks Bat Group

A Bechstein's Bat at Finem Woods near Calvert - provided by Wendy Tobitt at BBWOT. ''Credit Toby Thorne of the North ucks Bat Group

The animals are protected under both UK and EU law and Mr Prideaux said he felt HS2 Ltd’s proposed mitigation regarding the bats was unsatisfactory.

He said: “The proposed solutions include noise barriers, which will make the bats fly higher, but I’m really not convinced by this.

“I feel that the developers haven’t really listened to the residents of Quainton and Waddesdon and the whole scheme is creating more problems than it solves.”

But a spokesman for HS2 Ltd said they were confident that a ‘healthy population’ of the bats could be maintained even with trains thundering through the area.

He said: “We are proposing to build a series of bridges and underpasses to protect flight paths of bats near Quainton.

“This will help to maintain a healthy population.”

“We have held regular meetings with the residents of Calvert, Quainton and Waddesdon to get their views.

“This has also included individual meetings with Mr Prideaux.”

Bechstein’s bats are found throughout Europe but in the UK are restricted to southern England.

They are classified as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.