The presence of bats rarely stops development taking place; however if you disturb bats or interfere with their resting places then you may be breaking the law. As such, Council’s will usually ask for bat presence or absence to be determined as part of a planning application.
The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) has now released a short guidance note for homeowners ‘What to Expect From a Bat Survey – A Guide for UK Homeowner’, which sets out what is involved when a bat survey and report is required.
Establishing bat presence or absence usually entails a bat survey by a qualified ecologist and starts off with a daytime inspection, if possible presence is found further surveys such as emergence and re-entry surveys may be required to confirm use.
If presence is confirmed then many developments, such as barn and loft conversions, may need to be adapted or carried out in a certain way to ensure the bats are safeguarded. Sometimes developments cannot avoid impacts on bats and a licence to proceed may be required from the appropriate licencing body (e.g. Natural England, Natural Resources Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, National Parks and Wildlife Service Ireland, Northern Ireland Environment Agency), although this is completed after planning permission is granted.
Andrew Logan, our Principal Ecologist, and licenced bat worker says: “Avian Ecology personnel regularly undertake all kinds of bat surveys for developers and homeowners across the UK, and our experience allows us to provide pragmatic advice and assist in the design of sensible and practical mitigation where bats are found”.
All of our surveyors are members of CIEEM and practice to the required standards set within the new guidance. Please contact us if you would like advice on bats and development and we will be happy to discuss your project.
The CIEEM guidance can be found at http://www.cieem.net/news/274/cieem-publish-bat-guidelines-for-homeowners