In England, Scotland and Wales all bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 in schedule 5. All bats are also included in the Schedule 2 of the conservation Regulations 1994 which defines them as a European protected species.
Types of survey:-
Our licenced ecologists can complete an initial assessment of the site. This is usually the first step in the bat survey process, and is carried out to look for evidence of the presence, or use of the site by bats. The building is examined both internally and externally for signs of bats such as bat droppings, urine stains and feeding remains, and also for roosting potential. If we discover evidence of bats and/or the building has the potential to support bats (for example there are numerous suitable gaps or crevices in the roof or walls,) then further surveys will be required We can advise a schedule for these that adheres to the legislation and works for you. The initial survey can take place at any time of the year, however it is also possible to coincide this with emergence surveys if it is known that an emergence survey will be required. This includes both building and tree surveys.
Emergence / dawn re-entry surveys
If the initial survey illustrates roosting potential for bats, or evidence of bats was found, then further surveys are required, a series of emergence/re-entry surveys will be carried out, these will usually be between May and September (with at least some of the survey effort between May and August), but can vary depending on the exact purpose of the survey. The number of surveys is dependent on the outcomes of the initial survey, with the number of surveys needed varying from one for low potential buildings to three for high potential.
Dependent on the reason why the bat survey is required, further surveys may be required, these include:-
Activity surveys – transects
For development which will affect areas of land, or likely to have an effect on connectivity, activity surveys will be required to determine how the bats are using the habitat and how the proposed development will affect their use. These will be tailored to the project for number of transects required.
To undertake longer monitoring to determine if the development will effect bats, static detectors will be deployed on the site, these will be left either within buildings, or externally, on trees or in hedgerows and remain onsite for a number of nights to record the activity at the chosen location.
Once bats have been discovered a Bat Development Licence will be required as disturbance or damage to their roosts is likely to occur. The roosts are protected even if bats are not present at the time of development. . Part of the licence application is a bat mitigation strategy. This will provide a full mitigation strategy including locations for possible new habitats and roosts for the bats, detailing the use of bat boxes or where appropriate bat houses. Please note that the bat licence can take up to six weeks to process once it has been submitted to the appropriate statutory body (either Natural Resources Wales or Natural England).