Our licensed bat ecologists carried out successful bat mitigation at The Granary and Farmhouse at YHA South Downs over a three-year period.
The Ecology Consultancy was commissioned to provide ecological input for the final phase of construction. A building inspection and subsequent dusk emergence and dawn re-entry surveys confirmed the presence of a brown long-eared bat maternity roost within the granary, alongside common pipistrelle and brown long-eared roosts in the farmhouse.
In consultation with the client, their architect and contractors, a mitigation strategy was devised to enable works at the site to progress whilst ensuring that bats would be safeguarded for the long-term. This was submitted to Natural England as an application for a European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licence. Under licence works followed a clearly structured method statement, with our bat ecologists working alongside contractors on site.
The works that impacted the bat roosts were timed to avoid the summer maternity season and the winter bat hibernation season, in order to minimise disturbance. A dedicated bat loft was constructed in a new roof void. The Old Granary, which was not impacted by the works, was sealed off from the adjacent building to ensure its bat roosts would remain undisturbed.
The Ecology Consultancy devised a novel approach that allowed works to progress at the site over the winter, before the end of the hibernation period. This included pre-hibernation monitoring within the Farmhouse and the use of static detectors to assess the use by bats of areas not previously identified as roosts.
Following successful completion of the works, and the opening of YHA South Downs, The Ecology Consultancy carried out two years of monitoring at the site to find out if bats had again started roosting within the roosts that had been disturbed and whether or not the new roosts had become occupied.
The level of bat activity recorded at the site during dusk emergence surveys reflected findings from earlier surveys, whereby activity by brown long-eared, common pipistrelle, noctule, and soprano pipistrelle was recorded. Repeat inspections confirmed that brown-long eared bats and common pipistrelles are still using their roosting areas following the completion of the works.