Exiting roost

Bat Surveys & Mitigation

Bats are protected by law. Our experienced ecologists work with you to ensure your project can proceed with the minimum disturbance to bats and their habitats

There are 18 species of bat living in the UK (17 of which are breeding). All are fully protected by law. Bats are found throughout the UK but some species are very rare (mainly due to habitat loss) and are only found in restricted locations. Bats occur in rural and urban areas, in woodland, farmland, parks and gardens. Their roosts vary in size from a crack in a tree, to the eaves of a house, and even caves and railway or canal tunnels. Bats can use different roosting places for resting, breeding and hibernating: every building and mature tree is a potential bat roost, provided suitable features are present.

The Law

All species of bat are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. It is illegal to injure, kill, capture or disturb a bat. It is also illegal to damage, destroy or obstruct trees, buildings or other places used for roosting, even if bats are not present.

All bat species are also protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This means they are additionally protected from intentional or reckless disturbance, intentional or reckless obstruction of access to any place of shelter or protection; and/or, selling, offering or exposing for sale, possession or transporting for purpose of sale.

Expert Bat Consultants

Our specialists, including Natural England licensed bat ecologists, will typically conduct an initial assessment to identify the potential for bats to be using a site, which will be followed up by surveys for bat presence, activity and an evaluation of the potential of the habitat. Should evidence of bat activity be found further surveys may be required.

Our experienced ecologists will work with you to help ensure your project can proceed in a way that complies with legal obligations, is cost and time effective, and minimises disturbance to bats and their habitats. Only licensed bat-workers are allowed to enter known bat roosts or to capture or handle bats.

Projects we have worked on include:

Mitigation

A mitigation strategy is required as part of an application for a bat mitigation licence. Our experienced and licensed ecologists can provide advice on mitigation methods. These may include the retention of bat roosts and foraging and commuting habitats, design modifications to building plans, advice on timing of works to minimise disturbance, and the provision of new habitats and roosts such as the erection of bat boxes.

Mitigation strategies also may be required when an EPSM licence is not necessary. For example, to mitigate the adverse effects arising from a proposal where commuting routes used by bats would be fragmented or where a nearby roost or foraging habitat would be disturbed owing to additional lighting. Effective mitigation measures vary from being as simple as timing the works to avoid sensitive periods, to being more detailed and holistic for complex projects involving liaison with different disciplines and contractors. Our experienced ecologists take the time to fully understand the objectives of the works and other aspects in order to offer pragmatic and innovative solutions.

Working with Bats

Protection of roosts applies even if bats are not present at the time of development. Owing to their protected species status, a European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licence issued by the relevant competent authority (i.e. Natural England) is required whenever disturbance to bats or damage to their habitat is likely to occur.

The Ecology Consultancy has extensive experience of acting as the named ecologist on EPSM licence applications. The EPSM licence application will be accompanied by a method statement detailing the actions to be carried out under the licence. The licence enables appropriate mitigation measures to be put in place and their efficacy to be monitored.

Dusk emergence and dawn re-entry surveys, walked activity transects and static surveys can be undertaken between May and September (optimal survey period May to August).

External and internal building inspections and ground based tree assessments can be undertaken throughout the year, with the exception of investigations using endoscopes which are invasive and should not be undertaken in hibernation and maternity seasons.

Climbed tree inspections can be undertaken in April and September/October, in order to avoid the hibernation and maternity periods. For the same reason, felling of trees and demolition of buildings under EPSM licence is undertaken in late April/May and September/October. Hibernation surveys can be undertaken between November and March.

About Us

Our client base is broad and includes local authorities, infrastructure engineers, utility companies, planning consultants, architects and private developers such as farmers. We have been involved in small and large property development projects, working closely with all agencies involved. As experienced wildlife consultants, we are used to dealing with all legal and commercial issues surrounding protected species.

We guarantee you a high quality service, with a strong focus on our clients. We are happy to give free initial advice and can provide robust fee-quotes. We provide timely, high quality reports of our work to all stakeholders.

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