Critically endangered spider saved from planning development

Tuesday 9th June 2015

One of the world’s rarest spiders has been given a fighting chance of survival, after an appeal to build new houses in an old quarry was dismissed earlier today.

The Horrid ground weaver (Nothophantes horridus) is a tiny money spider which has only been found in three sites in Plymouth, nowhere else in the world, and one of those sites has already been built on and lost. Proposals to build a new development of 57 new houses on the second site, Radford Quarry – also a County Wildlife Site, would have destroyed the spider’s habitat and pushed it closer to extinction.

Originally the development was refused by Plymouth City Council but the applicant appealed the decision and a planning inquiry took place in January and March. Buglife objected to the development last year, and over 9,700 people signed our petition to save the spider. Only last week, independent experts at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) rated the spider as Critically Endangered and added it to the global Red List of Threatened Species.

Today, the Planning Inspector announced that the case is dismissed, stating that concern over the rare wildlife, notably the Horrid ground weaver, was the primary reason for rejection. This amazing result will help secure the survival of this amazing creature.

Andrew Whitehouse, Buglife’s South West Manager said “What a fantastic result for wildlife.  Buglife believe that to knowingly cause the extinction of a species, no matter how small, is morally wrong.  We welcome the decision of the Planning Inspector to dismiss the planning appeal and protect this site for nature and for the local community. Thanks to all of our supporters and everyone who signed our petition to save the Horrid ground-weaver spider.”