Vole holds up work on £121m Great Yarmouth bridge where Second World War bomb exploded

The sighting of a vole held up work on Great Yarmouth's third crossing.
Credit: PA
Voles are protected in law and it is an offence to kill, injure or take them. Credit: PA

A £121m bridge project that was initially held up by an unexploded Second World War bomb has faced further delay – from a vole.

Work was temporarily stopped on the third river crossing that is under construction in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, after builders found evidence of the small rodents.

While a “potential burrow” was identified, no voles were found and work was allowed to continue, Norfolk County Council said.

Voles are protected in law, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it is an offence to kill, injure or take them.

It is also an offence to disturb them in a place used for shelter or protection, or to damage, destroy or obstruct access to such a place.

The infrastructure project, named the Herring Bridge, previously faced delay in February when a 250kg bomb was found.

The device detonated while work to defuse it was taking place, with locals reporting that they felt buildings shake and that some car windows were broken, but nobody was injured.

Drone footage captured the moment the World War Two bomb went off in Great Yarmouth in February. Credit: Norfolk Police/Twitter

Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, told a Norfolk County Council meeting on Tuesday: “The bridge was obviously held up by a couple of things that went on.

“One is obviously a bomb, and that held things up for at least 10 days because things had to be reinstituted after that.

“And believe it or not we had a visit from a vole, which are more highly protected than bats, and we had to find him a new home before work could continue.

“So unfortunately there’s about two or three weeks it was held back.”

He had been asked when the bridge was due to open, and replied: “I’m reliably informed around about September time the bridge will be open and operating.”

A Norfolk County Council spokesperson said: “We have always been aware of the presence of voles around the site perimeter and have managed our work in accordance with the relevant legislation.

“A potential burrow was recently identified in a new area close to where we were working so we took measures to protect it by creating an exclusion zone and called in ecological experts but no voles were found and no further action was required.”

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