TfL denies ripping ULEZ bat box warnings off camera pole ‘in unmarked van’

By Staff

Transport for London (TfL) has denied that it or any of its contractors have ripped down notices placed on a ULEZ camera pole by activists. Last week, photos showed that protesters had been installing bat boxes on apparatus on which they believe TfL plans to install an ANPR camera.

This is believed to have taken place in a number of locations – including in Havering, Clayton Road in Chessington and North Cheam – in an effort stop the authority installing or repairing devices that monitor drivers. A video has also been posted on TikTok of one the wooden rodent residences being installed by two people wearing Batman costumes, complete with the superhero’s iconic theme tune.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, expanded the capital’s £12.50 fee to outer boroughs in August. Those using non-compliant vehicles (broadly, pre-2015 diesel and pre-2005 petrol) have to pay the daily charge.

READ MORE: Sadiq Khan lashes out at ULEZ ‘lies’ and tells Londoners ‘don’t fall for them’

Underneath the bat boxes, which experts suggest may not have rodent residents for months or even years, are placed notices warning TfL of the law around disturbing bats. Now, officials have been accused of removing these.

An anti-ULEZ activist familiar with the strategy told MyLondon: “I’ve had reports that one of the sites which is in Havering has had the warning signs pulled down, allegedly by a subcontractor in an unmarked van. It happened so quickly the witness was unable to get evidence and more details, but the situation is being monitored closely.”

They added that ‘temporary signs’ had been reinstated so TfL or subcontractors ‘cannot claim to not know anything about bats and the law’. When presented with the above allegation, a spokesperson for TfL said that the action is not something that has been undertaken by the authority, nor by any of its contractors.

Last week, TfL said that it would ensure its activities at the bat box sites ‘comply with relevant legislation’. The authority also pointed out that it is offence to place apparatus on its infrastructure without consent.

The law around bats

According to the Bat Conservation Trust, in Britain, all bat species and their roosts are legally protected, by both domestic and international legislation. This means a criminal offence may be being committed if you:

  • Deliberately take, injure or kill a wild bat
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats
  • Damage or destroy a place used by bats for breeding or resting (roosts) (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)
  • Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat of a species found in the wild in the EU (dead or alive) or any part of a bat
  • Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost

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