Background

All bat species receive protection under UK and European legislation. This legislation makes it illegal to; intentionally or deliberately take, kill or injure a bat; damage, destroy or obstruct access to bat roosts; deliberately disturb bats.

A bat roost is defined in the legislation as "any structure or place which a bat uses for shelter or protection". Roosts are protected whether or not bats are present at the time. If a development activity is likely to result in the disturbance or killing of a bat, damage to its habitat or any of the other activities listed above, then a licence will usually be required from Natural England.

EMEC Ecology carries out bat surveys as part of large public and private sector projects, or small residential development sites including re-roofing and home extension projects. Bat activity surveys are normally conducted following a daytime bat survey. The number of activity surveys required varies between one and three depending on the features identified during the day time survey.

Timing

Bat activity surveys are restricted to periods when bats are active. In accordance with industry best practice guidelines, bat activity surveys can therefore only be carried out from May to September inclusive; however, as activity reduces through September, at least one survey should be conducted between May and August to fully evaluate a site.

Methodology

Emergence and re-entry surveys

Activity surveys involve monitoring buildings and / or trees to assess whether bats are using features for roosting. Evening emergence surveys involve monitoring at dusk using bat detectors and night vision camcorder equipment with infrared light sources. Dawn re-entry surveys involve monitoring a site during dawn hours as bats return to roost. Surveyors monitor the buildings and / or trees and record if bats use any specific features, as identified during the daytime bat survey as exit / entry points. The number of bats exiting / entering will allow a population estimate to be made. Audio clues and sonograms recorded on bat detectors allow identification of species of bat present.

Transect and fixed-point surveys

Transect and fixed-point bat surveys can be used to determine whether or not changes in landscapes, such as hedgerow removal, construction of a wind turbine, installation of new lighting (e.g. road lighting) or an entire change of land use, will affect bats. Surveyors walk transects around a site and record bat activity. Bat detectors can also be installed at specific fixed locations within a site and set to record all bat activity over a series of nights. These surveys can be useful for identifying locations to site wind turbines or to help plan a lighting scheme which is sympathetic to bats.

To request a more detailed bat survey information sheet, please email mail@emec-ecology.co.uk.

Following the Survey

Report

We will provide a report detailing the survey methodology and results and providing an evaluation of the species recorded and recommendation for general mitigation measures, further surveys and/or consultation, as appropriate. The report will be provided as soon as possible following the survey, however; should you have a specific date for submission of a planning application we will do our utmost to accommodate this.

EPS Licencing

When bat roosts are recorded, and will be affected by the proposed works, it is usually necessary to apply for a European Protected Species (EPS) licence to allow works to progress. Should an EPS licence be required, EMEC Ecology can apply for this on your behalf. The EPS licence application requires the production of a method statement, completion of an EPS application form and the completion of a reasoned statement in support of the application. The method statement will require site specific mitigation. For development sites where there are challenging situations, EMEC Ecology has experienced staff in finding the appropriate solutions.

EMEC Ecology is also able to undertake Natural England's Low Impact Bat Licence applications where appropriate. This type of license may be applicable where a roost is considered to be of low conservation significance (i.e. an individual or a small number of non-breeding bats of a common species).