Bat Surveys and Mitigation

The UK’s 18 species of bat use a wide variety of structures and trees to roost in throughout the year, changing roosts in search of optimal temperature/humidity conditions. Bats are present throughout the UK and occur in both urban and rural locations, although some rarer species have restricted distributions. During winter bats will enter a hibernation-like torpor and seek stable temperatures offered by caves, tunnels, older buildings and veteran trees. In spring time they start to become more active again, the females returning to established maternity roosts such as roof spaces and trees which offer thermal advantages. The males often disperse and roost as individuals or in small groups, and frequently change roost site in search of suitable feeding habitat. By late summer and autumn their focus has switched to mating and taking on fat reserves for the winter, and large groups of bats can be seen swarming at roost sites. If your development proposal will affect structures or mature trees there’s a reasonable chance of encountering roosting bats. And you may also need to seek ecological advice if your proposal would result in a significant loss of foraging or commuting habitat for bats.

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Case Studies

Habitat, Bats & Reptile Surveys - Proposed Residential Scheme

We conducted a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal in 2015 at a former hospital in Gloucestershire to identify features of ecological significance which could constrain a proposed residential development on the site, prior to a planned sale of the site to private sector investors.

The survey site consisted mainly of buildings, hard standing, dense scrub and semi improved ......

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Summary of Legal Protection

Bats are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended) and are a European Protected Species. Together the legislation makes it an offence to:

  • Deliberately kill, injure or capture a bat
  • Destroy, damage or obstruct a bat roost, intentionally or recklessly, whether or not bats are present
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat while it is occupying a structure or place of shelter or protection

Surveys, Impact Assessment and Mitigation

Our professional, licenced ecologists can help ensure your project is designed and implemented in compliance with the legal protections for bats, improving the chances of successfully gaining planning permission while minimising the scope for impacts on this intriguing group of species. Our services include:

  • Preliminary roost assessments
  • Inspections of structures and trees
  • Emergence and re-entry surveys to establish the presence or absence of bats
  • Roost characterisation studies
  • Bat activity surveys for effects on foraging/commuting habitats, including from wind turbines
  • Hibernation surveys
  • European Protected Species mitigation licence applications
  • Ecological supervision during site works to prevent incidental killing or injury
  • Habitat creation and enhancement works
  • Post construction monitoring

Following the completion of appropriately designed surveys, we carry out impact assessments and advise on design alterations to retain important features – roost sites, commuting routes, connected foraging habitat – integrated within the site where possible.

Alternatively we can advise on mitigation, compensation and enhancement measures to ensure there are no long term impacts on species survival. Sometimes this can involve timing restrictions, the creation of new roost sites, and amendments to lighting strategies to minimise impacts to existing roosts. Once planning permission has been granted, we can also assist with gaining the necessary licence permissions from Natural England.

We’ve carried out bat surveys on schemes of all sizes and assisted numerous clients in successfully gaining planning permission while complying with legal protections for bats. Our ecology team operates throughout the UK, although our core area includes Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and London.

Ecological Surveys

Impact Assessments

Environmental Planning


Biodiversity Net Gain