BADGERS HALT SITE CLEAR­ANCE WORKS ON HOUS­ING DE­VEL­OP­MENT:

CON­CERNS RAISED OVER AN­I­MALS’ HABI­TAT

Bangor Mail - - Front Page - An­drew For­grave

AWILDLIFE-LOV­ING pen­sioner and her neigh­bours have won a tem­po­rary re­prieve for badgers threat­ened by a hous­ing de­vel­op­ment.

Nesta Ed­wards, 79, was dis­traught when work­men be­gan clear­ance work on land at Llain­goch, a vil­lage on the out­skirts of Holy­head, An­gle­sey.

Ev­ery night she leaves plates of dog food out for lo­cal badgers and knows many of them by sight.

She is wor­ried the mam­mals – a pro­tected species – would be driven away if houses were built on land oc­cu­pied by their setts.

Now, fol­low­ing in­ter­ven­tion by An­gle­sey coun­cil­lor Bob Llewe­lyn Jones, the lo­cal author­ity has ad­vised the de­vel­oper of its con­cerns and all work has stopped.

Mrs Ed­wards was de­lighted. “Most nights, seven or eight badgers go around to dif­fer­ent houses as they know food has been left out for them. Last night only two came to my house. I put plates of dog food out ev­ery night. It costs me £10 a week to feed them but I love wildlife – we also get foxes com­ing here.

“I re­mem­ber play­ing on that land as a girl and it would be such a shame to see the wildlife dis­turbed.

“There’s not enough green belt land left as it is.

“If the work restarts, the vil­lagers will do what they can to stop the de­struc­tion.”

Plan­ning con­sent to build 21 af­ford­able houses was orig­i­nally granted to de­vel­oper Watkin Jones in 2006. It is be­lieved the site was sub­se­quently sold on to an­other de­vel­oper.

An An­gle­sey Coun­cil spokesman said con­di­tions at­tached to the 2006 plan­ning con­sent had re­quired mit­i­ga­tion work to safe­guard pro­tected species, in­clud­ing badgers, dur­ing con­struc­tion.

He said any work ad­versely af­fect­ing bad­ger setts, up to a dis­tance of 30m from them, re­quires a li­cence from Nat­u­ral Re­sources Wales (NRW).

“We have moved quickly to ad­vise the de­vel­oper of our con­cerns re­gard­ing site clear­ance works be­ing car­ried out,” he said. “We have been in­formed that work has now stopped.

“We have strongly ad­vised that this should re­main the case un­til there has been an up­date visit by an ecol­o­gist.

“A fresh ecol­ogy re­port should be used to in­form the de­vel­oper’s ap­proach.

“Works should only restart when this has been done, and any li­cence re­quire­ment from NRW have been met.”

Cllr Jones, who rep­re­sents the Caer­gybi ward, con­grat­u­lated the coun­cil for its swift re­sponse.

Some wil­low trees have been felled but he hopes the site will con­tinue to func­tion as a green cor­ri­dor for wildlife.

He added: “The site is bor­dered by houses and has a stream run­ning through it which en­cour­ages wildlife to move around.

“Given the time that has elapsed since plan­ning con­sent was orig­i­nally granted, it’s right that a fur­ther en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment is car­ried out be­fore any clear­ance work goes ahead.”

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