Why Do I Need A Bat Survey

When it comes to getting a mitigation licence or planning permission, you will need to look into mitigation plans and survey reports. These are necessary for development projects. Surveys are needed to show if there are protected species in or near the site of interest and how the site will be used. Mitigation plans are needed to show how you will reduce, avoid or manage the negative effects (if any) to any protected species. When it comes to bats, there are a number of construction works that can affect them. This includes building demolition, extensions blocking roof access, barn conversions, wind turbines, road maintenance and building, and tree removal. So, why do you need a bat survey?

The Bat

In the UK, there are 18 different species of bats and new species are being found in the south of the UK all of the time. Habitat loss is a major threat that bats face and this has caused their numbers to reduce. Due to their declining numbers, bats have become a protected species.

Bat Laws

All bats, including their roosting sites, have full protection under laws in the United Kingdom and Europe. This means that killing, injuring, capturing or disturbing bats or damaging, destroying or obstructing access to their roosts is against the law. This means that when you decide to take on any kind of construction based project that adds or alters the environment, the area will need to be surveyed for bats by a company like Ecology by Design to ensure no harm is done to bats.

Survey Triggers

The requirements for a survey are usually triggered by a request from an architect, the local planning authority or a planning consultant. This is required so it can be submitted alongside a planning application. Preliminary ecological appraisal or ecological scoping surveys results may also be a reason to carry out a bat survey.

The Surveys

There are usually two stages of a bat survey, the initial scoping survey and the phase 2 survey. Initial scoping surveys are there to assess the soft and hard landscapes to see how well they would support a bat population. The phase 2 surveys normally form around activity surveys and roost surveys, which use bat detectors. This can include walking around the site during the night, then taking the time to stop and listen at set stations to record bat activity in the area.


There are a few factors that can influence the results of the survey counts. These can include the weather, an event that may have disturbed the bats, such as light or intense noise or signs that bats have been removed; this can include signs that the floors have been swept for droppings.

Bat Licence

If a bat roost is found and there is no way of altering the scheme to remove the impact that will be bestowed upon the bats, then mitigation may be needed to help mitigate for the disturbance, modification or loss of an existing roosting site. The price of mitigation and a licence can vary a lot. The species of bat, the budget, and the impact of the plan will affect the amount of input that is required. There are a number of schemes that can be implicated and there are many cost-effective solutions that won’t destroy the scheme.

It is important to be responsible when it comes to construction work. At the end of the day, we share our environment with a number of species who deserve and, in most cases, need to be protected against our actions. There are many companies that can help you out with this legal requirement to protect the UK’s bats.

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We are a leading independent ecology consultancy with an experienced team of ecologists. We are specialists in ecological impact assessment, ecology survey, licencing and mitigation.

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