Why use BatSurveys.co.uk for your project?
Getting you planning permission is our number 1 priority
We’ve been providing the UK’s best priced and fastest bat surveys for over 10 years. In that time, providing they have followed our advice to the letter, our clients have never failed to obtain planning permission with their local planning authority.
In the time that we’ve been operating, we’ve seen just about every bat related issue you could imagine. Big and small, from the depths of the Highlands, to South and West Wales, and right down to the tips of Cornwall and Kent. We’ve worked with planning authorities all over the country where bats are present, supporting development proposals by conducting a physical inspection.
Each bat surveyor in our ranks holds the necessary qualifications and experience to take charge of an internal and external inspection of a site, identify evidence of bats, and implement adequate mitigation measures to gain a successful planning application and allow the development to continue.
If you want proof, here’s what a recent client in Hampshire had to say about his experience with BatSurveys.co.uk:
Our Bat Services
With an extensive understanding of UK bat species and how roosting bats can obstruct access during a proposed development, we are able to carry out a full bat survey and, if applicable, advise on any further surveys you may need based on findings from the assessment.
Do you only do Bat Surveys?
Our ecologists specialise in surveying for bats in buildings and trees across England and Wales, as well as parts of Scotland. Whether reports are required by local councils for planning permission or for licence applications to Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, you can be assured that no one does it better.
On average, our professional ecologists conduct around 50 surveys a week across the UK. Unlike the majority of ecological consultancies that provide bat survey services, we have bat consultants located all over the country, making it possible for any potential clients to book an assessment and progress their development. This factor alone is one of the primary causes of our ultra-competitive, fixed fees – minimising the typical cost by coinciding an assessment of your site with an available surveyor situated in the same region.
What types of bat work do you offer?
Phase 1 Bat Survey – Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA)
Also called an initial assessment, walkover survey or scoping bat survey, a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) is often applicable for all projects and can be carried out at any time in the year, avoiding any potential delays.
A PRA will start with the bat surveyor undertaking a desk study to collect any beneficial information about the site and local bat activity before visiting the site. Over the course of the bat inspection, the ecologist will assess the site for evidence that indicates the presence of bats, such as the feeding remains of prey, bat carcasses and bat droppings. At this point, it is also important to gauge whether the site has high potential for bats to roost, paying close attention to potential roosting features like missing roof tiles or ridge tiles, gaps in weather boarding, hanging tiles on slate roofs, or missing sections of a certain bitumen type that bats could create a roost underneath.
If the bat consultant finds evidence to suggest that bats present on the site, they will anticipate if the development holds a reasonable likelihood to disturb or harm roosting bats. Ideally, the answer to this question will be no, no further surveys will be needed, and a detailed bat report will indicate to the local planning authority that the development is able to go ahead and planning permission can be granted. However, if bats, evidence of bats or potential for bats is identified, a phase 2 bat survey will be required.
Phase 2 Bat Survey – Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS)
Also called a nocturnal survey, bat activity survey, dusk and dawn survey or bat emergence survey, a Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS) is needed any time a PRA has identified the presence of bats or wasn’t conclusive enough to rule out bat occupation on the site. However, as this type of assessment can only be undertaken outside of hibernation between the months of April and October – with particular emphasis on the summer months between May and September – failure to book Emergence and Re-Entry Surveys in advance can cause significant delays to the planning process.
The entirety of a BERS focuses on one or multiple ecologists inspecting the site, property and all potential access points during dusk and dawn over two or three surveys to record information about protected species of bat on the site, as well as bat population and bat roosts. Using specialist equipment such as bat detectors, the ecologists will be able to decipher the specific echolocation calls to determine bat species and determine the type of roost. The bat roost type could include hibernation roosts or maternity roosts, for example.
Following the BERS, the bat consultant will develop a thorough report to outline their findings from the survey, offer mitigation options to enable the development to go ahead despite the presence of bats, and give the corresponding local authorities all they need to grant a full planning application on the site.
Our Expert Bat Ecologists
Balancing duties to support roosting bats as a part of species regulations and fulfil a legal requirement during an application for planning consent, our skilled ecologists are capable in a number of areas. With qualifications at bachelor’s and master’s level, a wide range of experience across the team, and individual specialisms in certain areas, we are able to guarantee a quality service every time.
Do you use your own staff or subcontractors?
For the purpose of efficiency and speed, we operate using a mix of directly employed bat surveyors and reliable subcontractor ecologists. Our in-house team are a combination of recently graduated rising stars that have been given the necessary first-hand training, and experienced ecologists with a vast knowledge of bat surveying that have been able to hit the ground running from day one. Meanwhile, our subcontractors offer us extremely preferential rates and timescales because of the long-standing relationships we have with them, as well as the volume of work we can give them.
Not only does this mean that you won’t be given outrageous rates or unexpected additional costs, but also that we have worked with them on numerous occasions in the past, giving us assurances that they will be just as effective as one of our in-house team. Additionally, all of the subcontractors we work with have been vetted and possess the requisite qualifications, experience and licences to undertake bat surveys in the UK.
What types of clients do you work for?
Over more than a decade of supporting new development works alongside required mitigation works, each licensed ecologist in our ranks has worked with an array of different clients from various sectors. In simple terms, as bats may be present in not only trees but any type of man-made structures including houses, barns, garages, sheds and warehouses, bat surveys could be necessary for anyone carrying out a permitted development in practically any property type.
Due to this, our need to undertake bat surveys on any form of building works cannot be ruled out. As such, we are experienced in working on any development proposal that needs alterations to avoid disturbing bats, ranging from private self-build projects or even re-roofing an existing building, to commercial projects, such as the development of agricultural buildings and livestock buildings or large residential housing schemes.
Our Bat Survey Protocol
We take pride in our work that ensures safety to bats and their roosts when found on important areas of a development site. As a company involved with bat conservation and general environmental management, we strive to offer a service of the highest quality to our clients while operating within the recommended best practice guidelines.
Operating within UK Law
A European protected species, bats are protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2019 (previously the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 prior to Brexit), the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Within these statutes, all 18 recognised protected species of bat found in the UK are legally protected, preventing a net loss of the species and restricting development projects that are carried out in a dangerous or careless manner.
More specifically, laws that make bats protected in the UK create legal restrictions around anyone caught attempting to deliberately kill, injure, capture or disturb bats. It is also a criminal offence to sell or exchange bats, damage or obstruct access to bat roosts, possess bats without a licence, or cause any disruption to bats without strict permission from a qualified professional, or without possession of an active bat licence.
Once planning permission has been approved for operating on a site that houses bats and mitigation work has been agreed with the local authority, you will need to apply for a bat mitigation class licence – a form of European protected species licence that facilitates the mitigation techniques put forward and approved by the ecologist in the bat assessment report.
Working with Regulators
As well as ensuring that we are operating within existing UK and European legislation and performing in a way that guarantees the best possible service and solid health and safety precautions, we also work alongside relevant regulators. By doing this, we can make sure that we are fully aware of the latest standards, promoting the most suitable methods of carrying out bat surveys, and avoiding potential breaches of UK law.
Many of our bat consultants also keep a grasp of modern practices by acting as a member of the Bat Conservation Trust and other trusts that are local to where they are situated. For more information, visit the Bat Conservation Trust website. It is also common for our team to watch for the latest updates from Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and other governmental bodies and statutory nature conservation organisations.
Bat Mitigation Guidelines
Following the completion of bat activity surveys, the licensed bat ecologists involved in the process will utilise the information they have collected from both assessments on the natural habitats of bats on the site and ensure that they are fully protected, even with the development going ahead as planned.
Approaching bat activity surveys in the appropriate manner across any assessment in England and Wales – as well as sections of Scotland – is a crucial promise that we offer to clients, guaranteeing that we support bats accordingly. As bats tend to roost with a variety of different species, we use our specialism of different bat species to approach each of the specific bats on the site correctly. For example, the behaviours of brown long-eared bats or grey long-eared bats are different to the behaviours of common pipistrelle bats.
Using specialist equipment such as bat detectors and radio tagging devices outside of daylight hours during emergence surveys after a PRA confirms that bats are present on the site, we can characterise each bat based on species, roost and population before developing the bat report to provide advice to the local planning authority.
Within these recommendations, mitigation measures may include:
- Fitting bat access roof tiles – an innovative alternative that enables bats to roost on the roof without ruining the aesthetic of the property or endangering themselves
- Installing bat boxes elsewhere on or outside of the site – a common solution, bat boxes are suitable roosting areas for bats that are reminiscent of natural habitats
- Safely relocating the bats elsewhere on or outside of the site – a last resort that should be carried out delicately by a licensed bat ecologist
Whether a client has made efforts to intentionally kill bats on the site, or if they have simply identified old or new roosts on the site, our bat consultants remain within habitats regulations and operate by the letter of UK conservation laws. Regardless of weather conditions or any other factors that could potentially make the process of undertaking bat emergence surveys or bat activity surveys more difficult, we follow strict guidelines, and it has led to us never having a bat survey report disregarded by a planning authority.
Booking a Bat Survey
If you need or have been told you need a bat survey, the process for booking an assessment with one of our bat consultants is simple, and you have several communication options based on your own personal preference. For example, you could fill out the form at the top of this page, call us directly using the number above or check out our dedicated ‘Contact‘ page.
In most cases, planning projects in buildings close to woodland or on properties that commonly act as a bat roost – such as barn conversions – bat surveys must be a consideration at the first instance. Even outside of these certain circumstances, it would be advisable to seek further advice from a trusted ecological consultancy to avoid potential issues later in the planning process.
What happens next?
Once you’ve given us details about your project and site, we will produce a free quote that is accurate to your specifications and send it to you as quickly as possible. At this point, you can assess whether or not you want to proceed without obligation, and if you do, we will work with you to plan a suitable time and date to come and visit your site.
After our bat surveys are complete, the ecologist in charge of the assessment will develop an extensive bat report to outline current resting places of each roosting bat in their natural habitat on the site, detail effective mitigation measures to eliminate factors that could affect bats, and get your planning application over the line to enable you to apply for a bat licence and move your development along.