Bats about Levenmouth Rail link: Pipistrelle bats. Just one of the species which we hope will use the bat boxes that hve been installed along the Leven line -2

Friday 14 May 2021

Bats about Levenmouth Rail link

Region & Route:
Scotland’s Railway: Scotland

Network Rail has worked with staff at the Forth Rivers Trust to put up bat boxes along the route of the Levenmouth Rail link.

This work is part of the Leven Connectivity Programme and followed on from the initial removal of trees along the route to clear the space for the new rail development.

With some sound bat advice from a is a bat specialist, the team from the Forth Rivers Trust placed the boxes along the bank of the River Leven near Methill in Fife.

Choosing key individual mature trees, including species such as willow, birch and alder, to place the boxes.

The boxes have been placed at points along the rail corridor that will continue to offer safe refuge for the little creatures throughout the duration of the work at locations that will not be disturbed by the work to reinstate the rail link.

The Levenmouth line from Leven to the Fife Circle will create new stations at Leven and Cameron Bridge and offer two trains an hour into Edinburgh.

Two styles of boxes were installed which are suitable for species such as common pipistrelle bat, brown long-eared bat and Myotis species such as Natterer’s bat.

Helen Simmons, one of Network Rail’s ecologists said: “Unavoidably, vegetation clearance for the new rail link involved cutting down trees which provided habitat for a range of birds and wildlife – including bats.

“While we carried out all of the required surveys to safeguard any protected species in advance of work and took out only the minimal amount of trees needed to create a safe rail corridor, this inevitably has an impact on the wildlife.

“The boxes will offer alternative/ compensatory roosting opportunities throughout the construction period, and thereafter until the natural habitat around the completed railway regenerates to the point where it will again provide natural roosting opportunities habitat for bats, birds and other species”.

The new boxes will provide alternative roosts for the bats and the aim is to improve and supplement the connectivity of habitats along the River Leven. This is not just for bats but lots of our wildlife, plus the people who live, work and visit the Leven.

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