Plan to fix Picton's flying fox problem

Tough neighbours: Picton reisdents will soon have some relief from the neighbourhood flying fox colony. Flying foxes are a protected species in NSW.
Tough neighbours: Picton reisdents will soon have some relief from the neighbourhood flying fox colony. Flying foxes are a protected species in NSW.

Picton residents being driven batty by the local flying fox colony will soon have some relief.

Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith has announced a $15,000 grant to help Wollondilly Council manage the town's flying fox population.

The funds will be used to create buffer zones around neighbouring properties by removing privets (a leafy plant) and associated perching habitat on residential land.

Mr Smith said the buffer would separate the Stonequarry Creek flying-fox camp from affected residents.

"There were large numbers of flying foxes roosting in the area and this funding will help council to better manage them and their impact on the local community," he said.

"Wollondilly Council was one of 15 local government areas to receive funding under the NSW state government's Flying-fox Grant Program."

Picton's bat colony is made up of grey headed flying foxes - a protected threatened species.

Flying foxes are good pollinators and seed dispersers.

They are crucial for the survival and regeneration of native forests and are important for local honey production.

Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth said they were delighted to receive the funding.

"I am really excited. We will be using the funding to start the initial stages of our work to protect the colony and Picton residents," he said.

"We've heard people's concerns loud and clear but we have to handle this situation carefully as the flying foxes are a protected species."

The council will work alongside a flying fox expert who will assess and monitor the health and well-being of the flying-foxes before, during and after the works take place.

We've heard people's concerns loud and clear but we have to handle this situation carefully as the flying foxes are a protected species.

Matthew Deeth, Wollondilly mayor

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the state government supported long-term solutions that improve and restore flying-fox habitat.

"When flying-fox colonies decide to set-up camp close to houses, noise and odour issues can cause concerns for residents," Mr Kean said.

"We are working to protect these nomadic creatures but also look after the health of our community."