Wildscapes

where nature, people and business flourish

Bats

All bat species and bat roosts are under legal protection in the UK, and all bats are  designated as European Protected Species by the EU. In England there are several pieces of legislation protecting bats, starting with the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and subsequent amendments to this act, including those made in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

In England, any of the following is a criminal offence:

  • deliberately capturing, injuring or killing a bat
  • deliberately disturbing a bat, in particular in a way that would affect its ability to survive, breed, rear young, hibernate, migrate, or significantly affect the local distribution or abundance of the species
  • damaging or destroying a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)
  • possessing, controlling, transporting, selling, exchanging or offering for sale/exchange any live or dead bat or any part of a bat
  • intentionally or recklessly disturbing a bat at a roost
  • intentionally or recklessly obstructing access to a roost

The potential fine for each offence is £5,000 per incident or per bat and an offender can also be imprisoned for six months.

Timing: April-September, scoping surveys all year round.
Examples when one could be needed may include applications for building extensions or alterations, barn conversions or bridge repairs. When a client wishes to redevelop or demolish a building, they are required by law to check if bats are present.

 

CASE STUDIES

Client: Kier Group, school development

As part of major renovation work at a school in Sheffield, our ecologists undertook a series of bat surveys to ensure all works were delivered within the law. The project was delivered to a tight deadline through careful scheduling of the necessary bat surveys. Planning permission was granted and the development could commence without the need to apply for a Natural England licence.

 

Client: Sheffield City Council, building demolition

A bat scoping survey was carried out as part of the planning requirements to demolish a resource centre building in Sheffield. The building was assessed to have little or no potential for supporting roosting bats or bat habitat. Planning permission was granted and the development could commence without the need to apply for a license from Natural England.

 

Client: Private, barn renovation

Wildscapes undertook a scoping survey to look at a barn which was due to be partially renovated. Our ecology team checked for evidence on the building first, then carried out a full data search of records for the presence of bats in the local area. We then carried out one dusk emergence survey and two dawn return surveys, in line with Natural England requirements. The surveys and report were delivered on time and the survey concluded that at that time bats were not using the barn as a roosting site, therefore the planning application could be made for the development of the barn.

 

Client: Sheffield City Council, building demolition

During the scoping survey our ecologist reported that the building assessed had medium potential to support roosting bats. Following this, return and emergence surveys were carried out. The surrounding area was assessed to provide high potential for bat habitats, but the building assessed was not providing roosting habitat for bats. Planning permission was granted and the development could commence without the need to apply for a Natural England licence.