In England, all bat species are protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). This means that bats are protected from intentional or reckless disturbance, intentional or reckless obstruction of access (to any place of shelter or protection), and/or the selling, offering or exposing for sale, possession, or transporting for purpose of sale.
All species of bat are fully protected under Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. It is illegal to injure, kill, capture or disturb bats, and to damage, destroy or obstruct trees, buildings or other places used for roosting – even if bats are not present.
Furthermore, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC) lists the all species of bat as species of principle importance under Section 41. Section 40 requires every public body in the exercising of its functions (in relation Section 41 species) to ‘have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’; therefore, making bats a material consideration in the planning process and requiring a detailed ecological survey before planning permission can be granted.
Bats can use different structures for various types of roosting, such as maternity roosts and hibernation roosts, as well as summer, occasional and feeding perches.
Bats can use a variety of features for roosting, including trees, buildings, bridges, caves and mines. Bats will move between roosts throughout the year to support their life cycle requirements, including hibernation and breeding roosts (maternity roosts).
There are different roost types, including maternity roosts where bats give birth and raise their young, hibernation roosts, transitional roosts where bats congregate in the spring and autumn. In addition, there are also feeding perches, night and day roosts. Roosts vary in their occupation over the course of the year and will also vary in the number of individuals present. There use is dependent on climatic conditions and well as social requirements.
All roosts, whether bats are present at the time of the roost discovery, are protected by law.
Bat Survey Methodology
The Ecology Partnership has licensed bat surveyors who are able to undertake survey work, including entering into buildings with a known bat roost.
Types of bat surveys:
The Ecology Partnership undertakes the following bat surveys:
- Day-time bat surveys, including an initial habitat assessment (potential of the site to support roosting, commuting and foraging bats), and an inspection of all potential bat roosting structures.
- Dusk surveys assess the species and number of bats leaving potential roosting sites.
- Dawn surveys assess the species and number of bats swarming or returning to potential roosting structures.
- Bat activity surveys/Transect surveys evaluate the commuting and foraging activities of bats.
- Remote sound recording surveys to evaluate the use of defined areas for their importance to bats, identification of key foraging and commuting networks, species identification and analysis, species abundance.
- Tree surveys, including identification of potential bat roosting features on trees from ground level and potential use of such features within ecological networks. Tree climbing to provide a more detailed assessment of the potential roosting feature through climbing and use of endoscope and torches is also provided.
If bats are found, an ecological mitigation strategy may well be required, depending on the nature and extent of proposed works.
If works require a licence from Natural England (for example loft conversions, demolition of roosts etc.) then The Ecology Partnership can write and apply for a licence on the client’s behalf. We have licensed bat surveyors, who are experienced with numerous licensed sites and Natural England requirements.
Low Impact Bat Class Licence
The Ecology Partnership holds a Natural England Low Impact Bat class licence. Visit our Low impact bat class licence by clicking here.
Bat Survey Season
Visit our Survey Calendar for suitable times for your survey to be conducted.
The Ecology Partnership – Your Surrey Bat Surveyors
To discuss a bat survey or the production of a bat mitigation strategy, please email us or call us on 01372 364 133 or use our enquiry form below.
Bat Survey Guidelines
The Ecology Partnership follows guidelines published by the Bat Conservation Trust with regards to surveys and mitigation.
For more protected species survey services click here.