Bats could stop bridge demolition

Published: Friday, 14 August 2009

WITH bats having been seen flying around Bowstring Bridge over the Soar in Leicester, planned demolition has been halted.

Bat experts are now being brought in to study Leicester's Bowstring Bridge before its planned demolition, though the council's own wildlife people carried out a wildlife survey in 2005, which found no sign of protected species.

But that report is no longer valid, so a new wildlife report is due to be commissioned by early September to ensure no protected wildlife lives on or around the bridge.

When any structure is due to be demolished, an expert must inspect the site to ensure no endangered species are there, as it is illegal to disturb or hurt them.

The demolition was to make way for De Montfort University to build a swimming pool and sports centre on the site.

If bats are discovered, work would be unable to start, as it could be delayed by up to six months, with a council spokesman stating that if there are bats roosting in the bridge or arches, the council would have to apply for a licence from Natural England to them, which would delay any other work on the bridge and increase the costs.