A NEW cycle way linking seven schools through Tawd Valley could be built without lighting after fears that it could affect the local bat population.
The proposed scheme aims to upgrade parts of the pedestrian link through the Tawd Valley, while installing a new path and cycle link.
Plans show that the route of the path on West Lancs Council land, will head north from Yeadon through the car park to the south of the library and then leading into the Tawd Valley park.
The path will include a direct link to the rear of West Lancs College as well as a separate link to the Inglewhite area.
It will then continue, linking with the Mill Street footpath and heading across Houghtons Road before finishing at Summer Street.
Planners say that this will provide a link to schools, the Stanley industrial estate, the college and residential areas and improve access to Skelmersdale town centre – increasing opportunities for leisure and recreational activities.
But due to “issues of light encroaching onto bat foraging areas” and following the results of a light survey – limited forms of lighting may be allowed, if at all. Alternatives are now being considered by Lancashire County Council, which put forward the proposal.
Pat Regan, an environmentalist who supports limited lighting, said: “All over the land people manage to ride their bikes and do it without affecting bats, birds and any other species – this is of course called living in harmony with nature.
“Wildlife laws are in place for very good reason and primarily to protect species that we humans continue to threaten.”
Another supporter of the idea, Carol Tonkiss, added: “Please don't disturb the bats. I'm sure in this life of technology we can think of some way to light the area. How about low lighting? Just an idea.”
Under UK law all bat species and their roosts are protected. It is illegal to intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats, damage or destroy a roosting place and to deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat.