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Population of four bat species at risk from O2 mast at conservation area
United Kingdom Created: 3 Jan 2008
Controversial plans to build a phone mast in an area populated by bats have been given the go-ahead.

The plans, submitted by O2 (UK) Ltd, have been a bone of contention for some residents living near to the site on Ermine Street in Broughton, not least because the woods are home to four different species of bat.However, since the mast was approved, it has also emerged a number of residents were unaware of the application.

Several residents on Ermine Street said they did not have any details about the mast.

One man, who did not want to be named, said: "I only found out about it because I saw a man from the council taping a notice to a post outside my house.

"It was a really windy day and the notice blew off so I went running out to collect it.

"When I read what it was I showed my neighbours but half the people on the street never knew anything about it."

The application, to build a 30-metre steel mast, had been presented to the committee twice before.

On both occasions the application was deferred until further consultations with the phone company had taken place.

Concerned resident Kate Percival had spoken at both of the previous meetings, but she was unable to speak at the latest meeting as it was the third time the application had been considered.

Speaking at previous meetings she had objected on several grounds, saying: "There is not adequate screening and it has been proved a smaller mast would suffice in the correct location.

"There are four species of bat at the site and European law states adequate biodiversity surveys must be taken into account before planning permission is considered."

Ms Percival and other residents had also claimed the mast would not be in the woods, as stated in the report, but on the edge of it, meaning all 30 metres would be visible.

At the previous planning meeting, a decision was made to defer the application until it was determined whether O2 would be willing to move the mast further into the woods.

However, O2 (UK) stated it would not prepared to move the mast.

Despite this and the objections raised, the planning committee decided to grant permission for the company to build the mast.

But it must be painted green within one month of being built, and a biodiversity management plan must be carried out to protect the features of a recognised nature conservation area.
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Source: This Is Shuntthorpe, 10 Dec 2007

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