Wildlife trust loses Chudleigh bats judicial review call

Horseshoe bat
Image caption There are an estimated 6,500 greater horseshoe bats in the UK

A wildlife charity has failed in its bid to overturn planning permission to build homes close to the habitat of rare bats, it has said.

Devon Wildlife Trust had called for a judicial review of a decision by Teignbridge Council to allow the go-ahead for more than 200 houses to be built at Chudleigh. It was rejected.

The site is near a group of greater horseshoe bats.

The trust said it would not appeal against the High Court ruling.

Greater horseshoe bats:

  • One of 16 bat species found in Britain
  • With wingspans of up to 40cm (16ins), they are also one of the largest
  • They get their name from the remarkable horseshoe-shaped organ on their noses, which the bats use to navigate and find prey

Source: Devon Wildlife Trust

There are an estimated 6,500 greater horseshoe bats in the UK and a third of these live at 11 roosts in Devon.

Chudleigh's population of greater horseshoe bats was one of the largest in the country, it said.

The trust said the decision was "very sad and worrying news" as "the species is in serious decline".

Trust chief executive Harry Barton said: "The judge's decision is a blow to the future for the greater horseshoe bats of Chudleigh. But more worrying is the message that this case sends to developers and local authorities. This is alarming to say the least."

All bat species in the UK are legally protected.

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