Surveys

There are a number of different types of bat surveys CES can provide. The type of survey needed will depend on what type of structure is being surveyed and the level of potential that it has to support a bat roost.

Bat roost potential assessments – typically included as standard within an extended phase 1 habitat survey conducted by CES.  Buildings are assessed externally for their potential to support bats by assessing the surrounding habitat, possible roosting areas (in soffits/lofts/under tiles etc) and possible access points (damaged tiles, gaps in lead flashing etc). If the building is considered to have potential further surveys will be recommended if the building in question is to be impacted. Trees are assessed from the ground using binoculars for their potential to support bats by assessing the surrounding habitat and looking for features on the tree such as cracks, hollows and peeling bark.

Aerial surveys – CES are equipped to undertake Aerial surveys which involve trees with potential to support bats being climbed by a licensed bat worker and any potential roost features such as hollows or cracks inspected, using an endoscope.  

Daytime surveys – are carried out on buildings and involve searching for evidence of bats. These surveys are typically undertaken by our licensed bat ecologist searching roof voids for signs of bats and assessing the building and surrounding habitat for their suitability for bats. Daytime surveys can be conducted at any time of year. Depending on the findings of this daytime survey, further surveys may be required. Further surveys may involve dusk and/or dawn surveys.

Dusk surveys –  involve a number of CES ecologists position externall around the building in question and watching for bats emerging. Bat detectors, which are small electronic devices which turn bat echolocation calls into sounds which can be heard by humans, are used to aid the identification of bats.

Dawn surveys – are similar to dusk surveys but are concerned with observing bats re-entering buildings. Dusk and dawn surveys must be conducted when bats are active, i.e. late-spring, summer and early autumn.

Activity surveys – are surveys to detect bat activity within a site, for example for potential foraging areas and commuting routes. These must be conducted between late spring and early autumn. 

Ecology

Britain supports 18 species of resident bats, with the greatest diversity living in the south of the UK.  Bats, like other wildlife, have suffered from population decline due to changes in land use such as draining wetlands for agriculture and development, agricultural intensification (removal of hedgerows and use of pesticides) which has led to a reduction in roosting opportunities and reduction in their prey availability. 

Buildings present a whole range of potential roost sites for bats for example, behind external hanging tiles or weatherboarding, between under-felt and tiles or slates and/or in the roof space along the ridge beam and at timber joints.  

Some bat species rely exclusively on trees for roost sites; others use them for only a part of the year. All UK bat species feed on insects associated with trees. Bats also use trees, lines of trees and hedges to navigate at night.

Bats
Bat Between Tiles
Noctule Bat on Batbox

Legislation

All species of British bat are protected under both European and British law.  European protected species are listed on Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations, 2017.  Those species listed on Schedule 2 are protected under Regulation 41, which refers to the protection of wild animals of a European Protected Species (EPS).

Under the Habitats Regulations, it is an offence if you:

  • Deliberately capture, injure or kill any wild animal of an EPS
  • Deliberately disturb wild animals of any such species
  • Deliberately take or destroy the eggs of such an animal, or
  • Damage or destroy a breeding site or resting place of such an animal

British protected species of animal are listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended).  Those species listed on Schedule 5 are protected under Part 1, Section 9, which refers to the protection of certain wild animals.

Under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (as amended) if any person –

  • intentionally kills, injures or takes any wild animal included in Schedule 5;
  • has in his possession or control any live or dead wild animal included in Schedule 5 or any part of, or anything derived from such an animal;
  • intentionally or recklessly damages or destroys, or obstructs access to, any structure or place which any wild animal included in Schedule 5 uses for shelter or protection;
  • disturbs any such animal included in Schedule 5 while it is occupying a structure or place which it uses for that purpose;
  • sells, offers or exposes for sale, or has in his possession or transports for the purpose of sale, any live or dead wild animal included in Schedule 5, or any part of, or anything derived from, such an animal; or,
  • publishes or causes to be published any advertisement likely to be understood as conveying that he buys or sells, or intends to buy or sell, any of those things, he shall be guilty of an offence. 

Bats and Development

If bats are found to be present it is likely that a licence will be required to allow the development to proceed. Full planning permission is usually required prior to submitting a licence application to Natural England (NE)/Natural Resources Wales (NRW). CES work with developers and architects to design bat mitigation schemes that will meet the local planning authority requirements and be licensed by NE/NRW. We provide all the necessary services from initial surveys to writing the licence method statement and on-site supervision.

Please contact us to discuss your specific project or to request a quotation for conducting a bat survey and providing you with a report to support your planning application.  

Useful information

Natural England Standing Advice – Bats

Natural Resources Wales – Bat licensing

Bat Conservation Trust – Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines

Bickley Hall Farm, Bickley, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8EF

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