ScottishPower joined forces this week with the Forestry Commission to help safeguard a potential bat habitat in Glentress near Peebles, at the same time as completing essential maintenance work on a number of mature oak and sycamore trees.
Forestry Commission staff identified deadwood on a row of oak and sycamore trees at the entrance to Glentress, and due to their proximity to a road and an overhead power line, essential maintenance work was scheduled. Before this work could be carried out, the Forestry Commission was required to carry out a bat survey on the trees, as the rot holes and nooks and crannies under the bark can provide ideal roost sites for the numerous species of bats that are known to exist in the local area.
The initial scope of the project meant that the main power would need to be shut down for five days.
David Brown, regional co-ordinator at ScottishPower, explained: “In order to carry out the required work on the trees, we were looking at a potential power outage for up to five days. This would obviously have had an impact on the local community - as generators would have been required - causing a fair bit of disruption.
“Because ScottishPower employ skilled tree cutters who can work safely beside live power lines, we offered to bring in our own team to carry out this section of the project. We were then able to work alongside the Forestry Commission and complete the project without any major disruption to the power supply.”
Sarah Oakley, Conservation Ranger for Forestry Commission Scotland in
the Borders said: “A number of species of bats have been recorded in this area, and because all bats are classified as European Protected Species, they rightly have one of the highest levels of protection for wildlife in Britain. This means that amongst other things, it is an offence to disturb a bat in its resting place, or damage or destroy a bat roost, without a licence.
“Before the safety work could be carried out on the trees, we sent in a team of bat experts to check for potential roosting sites and ensure that the work would not disturb them. We then advised ScottishPower on the best way to carry out the work beside the power lines.
“Although no bats were found, we did discover a number of potential roosting sites. At the same time our tree surgeons were also able to create some new residences for bats in the trees, using specialist ‘coronet cuts’. This means that bats will have a home in these trees for many years to come.”
David Brown at ScottishPower continued: “This is a good example of how organisations can work together to deliver a unique project with minimal disruption to the local community.”
Media Information: Paul Ferguson 0141 636 4557 / 07702665924