Farmer Who Hid His Castle behind a Hay Bale Wall Now Claims Bats
You may be familiar with the farmer – Robert Fidler – who built a castle without planning permission and then hid it behind a wall of hay for four years. This was to try and exploit a loophole which means that if a building without planning permission is uncontested for 4 years then the authorities can’t contest it. Unfortunately for him the authorities decided that this loophole wasn’t applicable to him as his had purposefully hid the property.
Earlier this year the High Court ordered an injunction to force Mr Fidler to demolish the castle, however earlier this week Mr Fidler announced that he was unable to do so because he had an ecological study carried out which had established that bats (and newts) were present around the property.
Bat Protection, seriously?
You may be wondering why the presence of bats is affecting his decision to demolish the castle. In Britain, all bat species and their roosts are legally protected under various acts including The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and you will be committing a criminal offence if you:
- Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat;
- Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats;
- Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost a the time);
- Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat; or
- Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost.
The potential penalties on conviction are:
- The maximum fine is £5,000 per incident or bat;
- Up to 6 months in prison;
- Forfeiture of the items used to commit the offence.
Wait, what if I have bats in my property?
If you are looking to do any construction work to a property and you think that there may be bats, you need to investigate before you act.
If you want to discuss bat protection or any other legal issues you may face during the construction process and construction law, please give our specialist property litigation team a call on 0113 244 9931.
Request call back from solicitors in Wakefield, Leeds and Manchester.