Council assures that there will be no delay

A 3D illustration of the proposed Forfar Community Campus.
A 3D illustration of the proposed Forfar Community Campus.

Angus Council has given assurances that there will be no delay to the community campus project after bats were discovered at the current site.

An initial bat survey was undertaken by RSK in June 2013 when the plans to create a new community campus on the site of the current Forfar Academy building first got underway.

It was during this initial survey that it was confirmed that certain areas of the school had the potential to support roosting bats.

In a letter to the Robertson Construction Group, which is dealing with the campus development, Ruth Morton, RSK consultant, said of the initial survey: “Three Pipistrelle bat droppings were found on the window ledge on the east of the Vocational Learning Centre which lies to the west of the main school complex.

“It is likely bats roost behind facia boards on this building, although none were seen during the initial survey.”

Dusk and dawn surveys were undertaken at the site in July and August last year with three surveyors on each visit.

These dusk and dawn surveys recorded Brown Long-eared Bats, Daubenton’s Bats, Pipistrelle species and Soprano Pipistrelle within 10km of the school site.

Ms Morton said: “At least seven Soprano Pipistrelle bats were seen emerging from one area of the school during the August emergence survey and at least five were seen to emerge from this area in July.”

RSK have outlined what needs to be done as the bat roosts will be lost during the demolition.

Ms Morton said: “As bat roosts are present in the buildings which will be demolished, a European Protected Special (EPS) licence from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is required prior to the demolition of buildings.

“The buildings are not due to be demolished until 2016 therefore update surveys in 2015 will be required to inform the licence application.”

She continued: “Two bat roosts have been identified, one roost is within the Vocational Learning Centre and the other in the main school complex.Suitable mitigation and compensation relating to bats at the site will need to be put in place.

“This will include timing of the demolition works as well as removal of features by hand to make sure no bats are harmed.

“Compensation for roosting bats at the site will also be required. This can include erecting bat boxes throughout the school site, either on suitable trees or in new school buildings.

“Features for roosting bats can also be incorporated into the design of the new buildings such as the inclusion of bat tiles.”

A council spokesperson said: “A bat survey was commissioned by the council as part of the site master-planning activity undertaken last year. This survey identified the presence of two bat roosts.

“A European Protected Species licence from Scottish Natural Heritage will be progressed during 2015 to ensure appropriate bat mitigation and compensation measures are provided as part of the redevelopment of the site.

“This approach will ensure there would be no delay to the project when demolition of the existing buildings is commenced in 2016.”

The state of the art, £33 million campus will include a secondary school and sports facilities to replace and enhance those already provided at Forfar Swimming Pool and the Lochside Leisure Centre.