Bellway Homes’ Record Fine for Wildlife Crime
When assessing a planning application for a proposed development, planning authorities must consider whether any protected species are likely to be affected. If there are protected species on site, planning conditions may be imposed to require a developer to obtain an appropriate licence before work commences. The sanctions for non-compliance with such planning conditions are costly, as demonstrated by the court ordering Bellway Homes to pay the largest fine ever issued for a wildlife crime.
All bats within the UK are European protected species and the presence of Soprano Pipistrelle bats had been recorded at Bellway’s Greenwich site in 2017. Therefore, the Local Planning Authority required Bellway Homes to obtain mitigation and species licences before proceeding with demolition work to any buildings on site. This licence is required for any works which would impact European protected species, including bats. Without this licence, the works would be illegal.
Bellway’s attempts to remove this planning requirement were unsuccessful. Nevertheless, demolition work was carried out at its Greenwich site in 2018 without either a variation to the planning condition or the relevant licence.
Bellway pleaded guilty to the offence of damaging and destroying a breeding site or resting place of a European protected species. They were ordered to pay a record fine of £600,000 and agreed to make a £20,000 donation to the Bat Conservation Trust.
The fine payable by Bellway has emphasised how costly it is to ignore planning requirements, particularly after going through the lengthy process of acquiring a development site.
If you have an upcoming development and would like any advice on the issues raised in this article or any other Real Estate matter, please contact Steph Richards in our Real Estate department. You can also email your query to email@example.com, call 01276 686222, or use the contact form below.
This reflects the law at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought as appropriate in relation to a particular matter
By Steph Richards
Senior Solicitor, Property Law
FREE: Legal Insights and Event News
Keep you, your family and / or business up to date on how the law affects you, by subscribing to one of our legal insights.
Subscribe for free Legal Insights
& Event updates
Senior Solicitor Steph Richards highlights the importance of Inter-Creditor Deeds in secured lending transactions, with a focus on development finance.
It will come as no surprise to Residential Landlords that regulations relating to the removal of tenants have been extended again.
We have seen tenants offering not to exercise their break option in a lease in return for a further rent-free or reduced rent period…
Top Legal Insights
Award winning legal advice
We are solicitors in Camberley, Wokingham and London. In 2019, Herrington Carmichael won ‘Property Law Firm of the Year’ at the Thames Valley Business Magazines Property Awards, ‘Best Medium Sized Business’ at the Surrey Heath Business Awards and we were named IR Global’s ‘Member of the Year’. We are ranked as a Leading Firm 2020 by Legal 500 and Alistair McArthur is ranked in Chambers 2020.