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A national housebuilder has joined forces with the Bat Conservation Trust to work together to help protect endangered species and their habitats.
Vistry Group will include bat and wildlife friendly features at the housebuilder’s developments as part of its wider sustainability strategy to protect the environment.
Vistry’s pledge will involve working with the Trust over the next three years along with making a financial contribution to help its operations. The venture adds to the housebuilder’s Hedgehog Highways campaign to install highways for the creatures at all its locations where possible. Vistry has also started its delivery of new homes achieving net zero regulated carbon emissions.
The housebuilder – which builds Bovis Homes and Linden Homes properties and includes Vistry Partnerships – has already been working to help conserve bats including at its Lea Castle development, near Kidderminster, where bat roosts have been integrated throughout the location.
Fiona Milden, group planning director, said: “Vistry is absolutely delighted to commit to protecting bats and to work closely with the Bat Conservation Trust so these wonderful creatures get the best support they can.
“Vistry will partner with the Trust and help to spread the word of their fantastic work. In addition to other biodiversity enhancements, we will review where we can locate new bat roosts within our developments and support local wildlife. Our Lea Castle location is a great example, with a roost being used by many bats in the area.”
Vistry's development on the former Lea Castle Hospital site, awarded a Building with Nature Design Award earlier this year, is surrounded by woodland which is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species including lesser horseshoe, brown long-eared and pipistrelle bats. Some of the buildings due for redevelopment were bat roosts, replacement structures were built elsewhere on the development. An electrical substation on site was also converted. As more residents move onto the site, information boards will be provided to explain the use and importance of the bat roosts.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: “We are very excited to be partnering with Vistry. Although there has been significant progress in recent years towards more stable populations of some of the UK’s 17 bat species, they have not yet recovered from historical declines and several species remain vulnerable to extinction. For some species we still have very little data to guide effective conservation action. For others the challenge now is to build on the positive trends that have been achieved as a result of legal protection, increasing awareness of bats needs and education programmes with our partners. We are looking forward to working with Vistry to improve the environment for bats and people.”
The partnership will include providing bat conservation training for Vistry staff and looking at ways of making the most out of the relationship.
Vistry joined forces with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society last year, launching a trailblazing campaign to protect hedgehogs and other creatures under threat. As part of the industry-first initiative, the housebuilder is installing hedgehog highways to its existing developments and all future sites wherever possible.
Vistry has committed to setting a science-based target for reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the first national housebuilders to start the delivery of zero carbon homes.
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