© Charlotte Packman

Maternity colony for rare bats continues to be under threat from proposed road route

Monday 06 December, 2021

Norfolk Wildlife Trust is continuing to object to the proposed “Norwich Western Link” (NWL) and calls on more people to consider the coverage from BBC Countryfile (aired 5 December 2021).

NWT Chief Executive, Eliot Lyne, said: “We welcomed the BBC Countryfile reporting on the Norwich Northern Distributor Road Western Link on Sunday. The programme highlighted the unacceptable impacts of building a major road through a nationally important landscape – one that is a vital home to vulnerable wildlife including what is likely to be the UK’s largest known ‘super-colony’ of barbastelle bats.

“By showcasing the importance of the woodlands for threatened species found on the proposed route, the programme shone a light on some of the grave concerns that NWT have been raising with Norfolk County Council, Natural England and the Department for Transport throughout the design and planning of the proposed road. Evidence and testing were shown to be key to informing decisions on future development and mitigation. It is vital we listen to the science.

“Dr Packman’s independent scientific research, as seen on the programme, provides very strong evidence that this area is crucial for the long-term survival of barbastelle bats in the UK. As such we are calling on the Government’s Nature Conservation Advisors to urgently designate the area as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation. This will provide the resident bat colony vital protection from future developments such as the proposed road.

“We remain opposed to the new road development given its potential for a catastrophic impact on species. COP26 highlighted that we are facing both a climate crisis and a nature crisis, and that action is urgent on both. The outdated attitude that it is acceptable to destroy nature and compromise our climate in the pursuit of progress must be revolutionized. When nature thrives, so do we.”

“We are pleased to see national platforms such as BBC Countryfile raising awareness of important issues for our natural environment, as we continue our work to protect Norfolk’s wildlife.”

Learn more about The Norwich Western Link by reading our FAQ's, here.

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