New Malden to Raynes Park lighting report
The latest report commissioned by Sustrans and the Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames by Studio Dekka Limited June 2021 to discharge condition 10 of the planning application for the New Malden to Raynes Lane Cycle track, does not demonstrate compliance with the original Bat Survey Report or Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) – updated 2017.
I have written to Richard Graves to enquire on the level of involvement his company has had with the bat assessment in the lighting report; he has been quoted in just two paragraphs. I have also stated that our surveys (light and bats) found the corridor no longer usable by bats for commuting at the western end (although foraging areas remain around mature trees towards Raynes Park).
The report contains raw data with the lux levels calculated at ground level (it does not give the methodology or the conditions at the time). It does not address bats except that ‘ the Beverley corridor must be protected’, which is not really the Pipe track. That the rest of the corridor must be lit all night for people, is the assertion; an anthropocentric report produced to address the bat mitigation
Our surveys have shown that bats are able to forage to the east of the Beverley, because the luminaires are encompassed within the mature canopy of the trees, which act as light shields. Conversely, the New Malden side to the west railway bridge, is often devoid of bat activity, because it is double lit from the access ramp down to Alric Avenue. In addition, the trees have been removed in order to establish defensive planting requested by residents which incorporates pyracantha and other non-native species.
Our data is above and below and includes the light levels recorded with a hand held device. Although that is not in the canopy where the bats are flying, it is more accurate than data accrued taking readings at ground level. This is an opportunity to rectify a suite of failed planning conditions at the site, but it doesn't look likely to happen.