"Why do I need a bat survey?”
This is a question we get asked a lot at Quantock Ecology and luckily, we can provide a simple answer. Bats are protected by a number of pieces of legislation, both domestic and international due to the decline in bat populations in the last century. In short, it is a criminal offence to:
- Disturb a bat or groups of bats in their roost
- Damage or destroy a bat roosting place, even if there are no bats present at the time
- Obstruct access to a bat roost
Development could obviously cause a breach in their legal protection and as such, we are able to provide solutions to avoid this and enable you to continue with your project as planned. We work closely with local planning authorities and ecologists to make sure you get your planning consent! We offer a full range of bat surveys and services, and boast over 20 years experience in the bat world. All surveys are undertaken in line with the Bat Conservation Trust’s ‘Good Practice Guidelines’ (2016). The surveys or surveys we offer are listed below:
- Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA)
- Emergence or Roost Characterisation Surveys (also known as Presence/Likely Absence Surveys)
- Mist Net/Transect Surveys
- EPSL (Licence) Applications
- Mitigation & Enhancement Plans
To find out more about bats, planning and the law, click here to view the Bat Conservation Trust’s overview.
Preliminary Roost Assessment
PRA – This is usually the first stage of the survey process. A PRA can be undertaken at any time of the year, and is designed to assess a building, structure or tree’s suitability for bats. The survey also identifies any direct evidence of bats (droppings/obvious presence). The PRA may or may not suggest further dusk/dawn surveys, if evidence of bats is found, or if suitable roosting habitats have been identified. There would be either 1, 2 or 3 further surveys depending on the data gathered. If no evidence or suitable roosting features are identified, the process ends and a report would be submitted, suggesting the likely absence of bats and no further surveys will be required. PRA surveys often take into account other protected species such as barn owl or nesting birds, depending on the site and location.
Emergence (dusk/dawn) Surveys
Also known as Roost Characterisation Surveys or Presence/Likely Absence Surveys.
These are the second stage of the survey process, and usually follow on from the initial PRA. These surveys are designed to characterise the roost, or to try and prove the likely absence of bats. If a roost is confirmed, it is likely that a mitigation (EPSL) licence will be required from Natural England. In order to do this, specific details about the site and the bats are required, such as numbers, species, emergence points and the type of roost it is. This information is only generally available by undertaking this process. These surveys are date/weather dependent, and can only be undertaken between mid April through to September depending on the site and type of survey being undertaken. The optimum survey period is mid May through to the end of August.
Quantock Ecology has extensive experience in producing European Protected Species Licences (EPSLS) or Mitigation Licenses as they are also known. Such licences are required if bats are present and will be effected by the proposed development. EPSL’s are compiled in such instances, using the data gathered by the phase 2 (dusk/dawn) bat surveys and provide Natural England with a solution to the bats which are present. This could include the installation of bat boxes, bat tubes (within a building), the segregation of a loft for bat use or even a stand alone ‘bat house’. All of these options are discussed and agreed with our clients in advance, to ensure an agreeable solution.
Other Bat Related Services
Quantock Ecology also provides a number of other bat related services, such as transect, mist net and woodland surveys, together with mitigation and enhancement plans. All of these are tailor-made to your specific project requirements and are designed to provide all the details necessary to assist any planning application or development proposals.