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13th June 2016

Moorside environmental monitoring ‘comes home to roost’

NuGen is about to commence surveys to identify bat roosts close to Moorside.

A soprano pipistrelle bat which can be found in wetland habitats and around woodland, hedgerows and in gardens and parks across West Cumbria… A single pipistrelle can eat 3,000 insects in one night

All species of bat, and their roosts, are legally protected in the UK - so it is important that NuGen finds out about the bats and their habits around Moorside and the various Associated Development sites.

Earlier in the year, ecological specialists from Amec Foster Wheeler identified trees, buildings and other structures that have the potential to hold bat roosts. Bats are active at dawn and dusk between April and October, so the teams are now returning to these locations to carry out bat roost surveys.

This will enable NuGen to mitigate the effects on the bat population from construction work associated with the Moorside Project and, if necessary, provide alternative roost locations.

Rachael Greaves, Senior Consultant Ecologist from Amec Foster Wheeler, is leading the work on behalf of NuGen. She said: “We’ll be carrying out the work over the coming weeks and months - in the places we’ve identified where bats are likely to roost. The team will be using ‘bat detectors’, which are sensitive pieces of equipment able to pick-up the bat’s calls – normally inaudible to the human ear.

Not only will this information be valuable to NuGen, helping the company develop the Moorside Project in a way that will minimise the effects on local bat populations, it will also be useful in increasing our understanding of the bats present in West Cumbria.”

Paula Madill, NuGen’s Head of Environment, said letters to local residents whose property might house bat roosts were being sent out, asking for cooperation with these important environmental investigations.

“Bats are a protected species so it is essential we do as much as we can to identify their roosts. We are calling for assistance from some locals residents – as our experts will need to monitor at dawn and dusk, close to certain properties whose owners have been contacted in advance.”

“The local residents have been very understanding and we appreciate their help - and apologise for any inconvenience our environmental monitoring may cause.”

NuGen is committed to putting environmental care and sustainability at the heart of its development work.

Earlier this month, volunteers from NuGen carried out important ecological restoration work to maintain valuable peatland close to Cleator Moor, sustaining various habitats and preventing the peat from drying out and releasing CO2 - the main cause of climate change.

 

 

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