When Do You Require a Bat Survey?
Someone has come to you regarding your property and asked whether you’ve filled in a bat survey, or that you need to, and you are immediately stumped. After all, no one has mentioned it before, so why would it be necessary? You may not have even seen any bats or certainly not been aware of any.
Today’s post is going to over the requirements for when you need to have a bat survey. It probably doesn’t help that in the UK there are at least 18 different species of bat which are all protected by both EU and British legislation. If you do find you have bats then you’ll need a bat survey that meets certain guidelines and has been created by a qualified and knowledgeable ecologist.
You cannot create a survey of your own and you must not under any circumstances attempt to remove the bats yourself because it is a criminal offence to do so. You won’t be able to renovate or make any changes until your bats have been securely and humanely taken care of, so their environment must always be taken into account before doing anything.
Bats are in decline and we need to protect them.
Bats are protected in the UK because there’s been a serious decline in their numbers over the past century. If you are thinking of restructuring your building then this could impact on any roosting bats. They are likely to find their homes in churches, castles, caves, mines, tunnels, bridges, barns and of course houses.
Unsure of what to do?
If you’re unsure as to whether you need a bat survey then you’ll need to contact your local planning authority, or you can call us here at Ellendale Environmental.
A bat survey will include a thorough inspection of the exterior and interior of your property
An ecologist will use binoculars to look for roosting sites and even an endoscope to check in those tricky spaces like crevices and behind felting in a loft. If your ecologist doesn’t find something then you won’t need another survey. You’ll be provided with a report following the survey which you can then take along to your planning department with your application.
But what happens if they do find bats?
If this is the case then further surveys will be needed. These are what’s known as re-entry and emergence surveys, and will mean that surveyors will watch in person for bats leaving and entering the building at different time periods, usually around dawn and at dusk. These types of surveys are usually carried out in-between May and September when the weather is at its best.
What if they discover some bats?
Once these surveys are carried out and bats are discovered then a strategy will be put in place to help ensure the bats are not harmed in anyway and can continue roosting in your building’s structure. It’s known as a mitigation strategy, and it will help if you take this to your planning department so they can see that your proposed changes have taken the points raised and won’t result in harming the bats.
The European Protected Species Mitigation Licence
If impacting on the bats roosting is unavoidable then you’d need to apply for a European Protected Species mitigation licence and you can get these from a Conservation Organisation once you’ve had planning permission. The licence will allow you to carry out work that will affect the bats which would in normal circumstances be illegal. At Ellendale Environmental we can help you with this and make sure you get the necessary licences.
Ellendale Environmental – for intelligent specialist ecological surveys.
Get in touch with us if you think you may need a bat survey and you think you have bats present. We have a proactive approach and a friendly team of qualified and knowledgeable ecologists, we’ll work with you to help you get that planning application underway, and explain to you what we’re doing as we go along.