Waste firm creates £50k ‘bat cave’ at Middleton Quarry

The bat cave has been created in an old mine at Middleton Quarry. Picture: Contributed
The bat cave has been created in an old mine at Middleton Quarry. Picture: Contributed
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A Scottish waste disposal firm has created a £50,000 bat cave in a bid to protect a number of species which are resident in the Lothians.

NWH Group has invested the cash to support bat populations at Middleton Quarry on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

It’s really satisfying to see our team take such an innovative approach

Mark Williams

The resident bats hibernate in the old mine area of the quarry.

Senior figures at the company said the investment was part of a long-running project which aims to return the site to nature.

The business first acquired Middleton Quarry in 2013 with the intention of reinstating woodland and grass within the area.

Mark Williams, grandson of NWH Group founder Derek Williams and current managing director, said the company was excited by its success in helping to protect Scottish wildlife.

“We are involved in a diverse range of recycling projects and it’s really satisfying to see our team take such an innovative approach, and be instrumental in a conservation initiative that has a really positive impact on our local environment,” he said. Collaborating with consultant ecologist David Dodds Associates under a Scottish National Heritage licence, NWH has been working to protect the old mine where the bats reside and has installed gabion basket structures formed by recycling existing rock from the quarry.

Now that the bat cave is open and fully operational in the upper part of the quarry, three different species of bat can use the site to hibernate.

The brown long-eared, Natterer’s and Daubenton’s bats fly up to 50 kilometres in order to roost in the disused mine.

NWH Group first began reestablishing the upper quarry by filling in the excavation with materials such as clay, soil and bricks.

Following its successful launch of the new bat cave, NWH is now pursuing a range of future plans aimed at re-instating the lower quarry.

Andy Dorin, Forth area manager for the Scottish Natural Trust, has welcomed news of the firm’s investment in the bat cave.

He said: “Bats are extremely dependent on their winter roosts and are very vulnerable to habitation loss due to destructors such as pesticides.

“We are all dependent on bats in terms of food webs, and so we welcome any effort towards conservation, particularly such a significant one as the new cave in Middleton Quarry.

“Bats eat midges and are one of the top insect predators in Britain.

“There are many species of bats in Britain that people simply don’t see because they only come out in the dark.

“The three species of bat which reside in the new cave are all great species of bat which are integral to the environment in Scotland.”

NWH Group was founded in 1953 as a traditional family haulage business operating tippers for the quarrying industry.

In the late 1980s the business became fully focused on waste collection.

It now has six recycling facilities and one dormant landfill.

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