Bat bridges on £205m Broadland Northway 'don't work'

27/01/2020
Chris Ames

Structures that aim to help bats cross the £205m Broadland Northway in Norfolk are not working effectively, according to a report to the county council.

The report was produced by Mott McDonald in September 2019 to look at the impact of the new road, previously known as the Norwich Northern Distributor Road, one year after its opening.

It notes that while no dead bats were found during surveys and more bats are crossing the road at a safe height (above 5 metres) than at an unsafe height, ‘there is still a notable proportion of bats crossing at lower levels, and are therefore at risk of vehicle collision mortality’.

Although the report found that across all bat gantries, 58% of bats were observed to be crossing at safe heights, only 48% were found to be crossing within a distance of the gantry (5 metres) that meant they could be considered to be using it – a figure that fell to 32% if a distance of 2 metres was used.

A briefing from the council stated that surveys carried out in Spring 2019 found that only six of the seven bat crossings, built at a reported cost of £1m were being used at all.

Pictured right: the most common bat gantry design in the UK – steel wires with plastic spheres at intervals that are intended to be acoustic guides for bats

Bat expert Dr Anna Berthinussen, whose research was quoted in the report, told the BBC it was likely the council's attempts to mitigate the impact had failed.

She said: The evidence in the report suggests that actually no, these structures are not effective, they're not meeting their purpose,’ she said.

Dr Berthinussen said it was ‘quite striking’ how few bats there are at any of the crossing points, adding that this was ‘almost certainly down to the impact of the road’.

She said: ‘Bats may be avoiding crossing the road or disturbance caused by the road may have driven bats away from the area.’ But just 49% of bats were flying close enough to the bridges to be considered to be using them.

Cllr Martin Wilby, the council’s cabinet member for road and infrastructure told BBC Radio Norfolk on Monday that some of the bridges had worked.

He said: ‘The report clearly shows that some of the bats have been using some of the gantries of the bridges. It’s early days.’

With regard to the gantry that has not been used, Cllr Wilby said: ‘They’re new structures and most of the others have.’

The BBC also reported that bats have been found close to the location of the new 3.9 mile Norwich Western Link dual carriageway.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Inside

  • The £2.5bn Surrey partnering contract
  • The politics of protest
  • Stoke's roadworks league
View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Shopmobility & Public Convenience Attendant

Grade 3 - Starting at £18,657 per annum, pro rata rising to £19,905
We are looking for an individual who works well in a small team to deliver an excellent level of service at our flagship Market Road Public Conveni... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Waste Collection Operative - HGV Driver/Loader

Grade 5 - Starting at £23,403 per annum, rising to £25,791
If you enjoy working outside and would like to make a positive contribution to the collection of both waste and recycling in the Borough, this coul... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Director of Climate Emergency & Behavioural Change

£95,000 to £109,000 per annum
At Waltham Forest we are developing an ambitious, transformative agenda to tackle the global Climate Emergency. Waltham Forest, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Waltham Forest

Street Works and Permitting Manager

£44,863 - £51,817
Are you a qualified highways engineer who wants to make a difference to the efficient running of the highway network within Lincolnshire? Lincolnshire
Recruiter: Lincolnshire County Council

Warehouse Assistant/Driver

£20,903 - £24,491 per annum
An opportunity has arisen for the recruitment of a Warehouse Assistant / Driver. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Highways Officer

£27,741 to £30,451
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Brompton, Northallerton
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Officer

£27,741 to £30,451
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Boroughbridge, York
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Parking Enforcement Supervisor

£30,585 - £31,557
As part of a major service transformation, Haringey is seeking to recruit to a new number of new positions. Haringey, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Haringey London Borough Council

Bus Support Officer

£24,086
We are looking for people to work as part of our exciting new bus team! Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Environmental Health/Environmental Protection Officer - Noise

£41,607.00 - £44,598.00
This post attracts an essential car user allowance. The post holder is able to take part in the Council's flexible working scheme. Tower Hamlets, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Tower Hamlets London Borough Council

Greenspace & Environment Enforcement Officer

£20,092 - £24,491
You will work as part of a team undertaking environmental enforcement activities which focus on improving the street environment Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Strategic Transport Modelling Manager

£47,695 - £55,226
You will provide leadership to the organisations program of transport model development Leeds, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: West Yorkshire Combined Authority

Engineer - Highway Planned Maintenance

£22,183 - £27,041
We are seeking to appoint an Officer with highway experience. We are delivering a Highway Investment programme across... Stockport, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council

Chargehand Driver, Non-HGV (Street Services)

£22,185 - £22,587
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Environmental Cleansing Operative (Street Services)

£21,030 - £21,408
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Waste Operative (Street Services)

£22,185 - £22,587
Street Services provides a highly important service to all of the borough’s residents and visitors Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Cleaning Operative

Grade 2 - £17,715 per annum, pro rota.
Chelmsford City Council are seeking a self-motivated, experienced and customer-focused Cleaning Operative to join our cleaning team. You will provi... Chelmsford, Essex
Recruiter: Chelmsford City Council

Assistant Quantity Surveyor - Highways Contracts & Commissioning (multiple posts)

£27,741 - £29,577
In return, the Council offers a variety of benefits including Local Government Pension Scheme, flexible working and an opportunity to be... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Performance & Assurance Manager - Highways Contracts & Commissioning

£38,447 - £41,412
The post holder will provide professional contract performance management and compliance support to... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Construction Cost Manager - Highways Contracts & Commissioning

£43,597 - £46,875
With exciting new developments and high profile projects underway and in the pipeline for many years to come, working with... Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video