Avon Wildlife Trust fears new homes 'a threat' to bats

Greater Horseshoe Bat Image copyright John J Kaczanow
Image caption Greater horseshoe bats are one of the UK's biggest with a wingspan of almost 16in (40cm)

Wildlife custodians say they fear for colonies of protected bat species if proposals to build thousands of new homes and roads get the go-ahead.

Avon Wildlife Trust has responded to a consultation on new housing development in the West of England.

It says the habitat supporting greater horseshoe bats on the North Somerset Levels will be destroyed by the homes.

Locals councils said the plans will "help the Region meet its housing and transport needs for the next 20 years".

They have set out plans for 7,850 homes around Nailsea, Backwell, Churchill and Banwell.

'Unacceptable impacts'

The Trust says the North Somerset Levels are a "crucial" habitat for the bats, with the meadows and waterways supporting "insects that are essential to the bats' diet".

They are also the summer maternity roosts where young are raised, and the Mendip Hills contain their winter hibernation sites, the trust said.

It has called on the local councils behind the plan to review whether it is possible to go ahead without "unacceptable impacts on the natural world".

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