Bat surveys

All species of bat are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). If you disturb bats or interfere with their roosts you may be breaking the law.

Where a project or development is considered likely to affect bats, or their roosts, surveys and an assessment of impacts will be required.

Bat surveys can generally be divided in to two distinct stages: scoping surveys and activity surveys.

Scoping surveys

Scoping surveys are undertaken during the daytime at any time of the year. The aim of the survey is two fold: 1) to search for evidence of bat roosts in buildings and trees that will be impacted by a proposed development and 2) in the absense of evidence, to evaluate the potential of those buildings and trees to support roosting bats.

If no evidence is found and it is concluded that there is negligible potential for those buildings and trees to support roosting bats, the results of this survey would typically satisfy the Local Planning Authority that the proposed development would not be constrained by bats.

If evidence is found, or it is concluded that that those buildings and trees have potnetial to support roosting bats, then bat activity surveys would be required.

Activity surveys

If a scoping survey indicates that bats may be present in a building or tree likely to be disturbed by development, bat activity surveys are required to establish the presence or absense of roosting bats.

Bat activity surveys are undertaken during the hours of dusk and dawn to monitor bats emerging from roosts in the evening and bats returning to roosts at dawn. Depending on the size of the proposed development, several surveyors may be required and surveys may need to be undertaken over multiple dates. Surveys can only be undertaken when bats are active, typically between May and October.

If evidence of roosting bats is found a European Protected Species (EPS) license, detailing requisite mitigation measures, must be applied for from Natural England. This license can only be applied for once planning permission has been granted, at which point Natural England may take up to 30 days to process the application.

The presence of bats rarely stops development taking place however, appropriate mitigation must be implemented to ensure bats are safeguarded.

Please contact us for further information.