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Architects urged to consider bat population

Wildlife welfare needs to be considered by architects planning a new building or altering an old one, say conservationists

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) made the call as it opened its innovative architect-designed bat house (pictured), constructed using a hemp-based alternative to concrete, at the London Wetland Centre in Barnes.

The use of ‘hemcrete’, made of hemp and lime, allows the lakeside building, which resembles a picture in a frame, to ‘breathe’ so it keeps the roosts at the right temperature.

With at least eight species of bats visiting the 42-hectare site in south-west London, it is hoped the first bats will move into the Berkeley Bat House this autumn, when they look for places to mate and hibernate.

The unveiling of the house today marks the centenary of the birth of WWT founder Sir Peter Scott.

The trust’s director Kevin Peberdy said: ‘We need to start thinking about the impacts on biodiversity whenever and wherever we take down old buildings, put up new ones or make alterations - and adopt designs, materials and methods which are good for wildlife and people.’

The bat house is based on designs by Jorgen Tandberg, of Oslo, and Yo Murata, of Tokyo, and was chosen from more than 200 international entries in a competition devised by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller.

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