If you are building, demolishing, just doing some home improvements, or submitting a planning application that may affect bats in any way, it might be necessary for you to seek out a bat survey in order to proceed with your project. But what exactly is a bat survey and why do I need one?
What is a Bat survey?
A bat survey is basically a professionally recorded survey of the bats living in a certain area in accordance with the Bat Conservation Trust guidelines. The survey checks the number of bats living in the space or if the area may be hospitable for bats.
A full bat survey will include a survey, a site assessment, an impact assessment, details of any compensation, mitigation and enhancement measures required details of post-development safeguarding and a timetable of works.
Do I need a Bat Survey?
Get a 1APP Biodiversity Checklist. The Checklist asks whether the proposals will affect existing buildings or structures with any of the following features:
- Clay-tiled pitched roofs
- Loft spaces
- Hanging tiles
- Wooden cladding
- Open soffits
- Underground structures such as cellars, air raid shelters, ice-houses, tunnels
- Bridge structures, aqueducts or viaducts
- Dense climbing plants
- Large agricultural buildings, particularly, but not exclusively, those of a traditional construction
- All other buildings in a derelict or decayed state.
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then a bat survey is required before your application can be registered.
Why do I need one?:
- It will support your planning application
If you are planning a project and there is a possibility that bats will be affected you’ll need one. Because:
- Bats are a protected species
All species of bat are fully protected under the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act and the EU Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. Numerous types of bat rely on buildings for roost, and some species have declined by over 90% in recent times. Consequently, bats and their habitats are given the masses of protection they are due.
Together, these rulings make it a crime to:
- Intentionally or recklessly kill, injure or capture a bat;
- Damage or destroy habitat which a bat uses for shelter or protection
- Deliberately disturb a bat when it is occupying a place it uses for shelter and protection.
Can I do it myself?
No. Only bat surveys which meet the established standards of the Bat Conservation Trust will be accepted. You’ll need to get surveyed by a qualified bat surveyor. It’s important to keep in mind that this could actually save you money in the long run, by avoiding unplanned costs.
“Getting a bat survey at the feasibility stage of your development is the best possible thing you can do, because it will alert you to any unplanned costs and delays of up to a year before you design becomes too advanced to change without itself incurring significant costs,” says Robert Oates, director of Arbtech Bat Surveyors.
What do I do if I do have bats?
It shouldn’t be a massive problem, as long as you protect and work around the bats with your build. Simple changes like a bat box might be the difference between getting permission and not.