London’s Ecological Features
Best known as the capital of England, the London region is formed from the two counties of the City of London and Greater London. While the City of London sits in the middle of the region and has the eight wards of Aldersgate, Bishopsgate, Cripplegate, Farringdon Within, Farringdon Without, Portsoken, Queenhithe, and Tower, the more traditionally structured county of Greater London surrounds the city and has a total of 32 boroughs.
Despite a domination of urban areas across London, the region is home to multiple forms of wildlife and protected animal species. Bats are often considered a solely rural animal that only appear in woodland areas. However, a number of bat species are present throughout the region, occupying both infrastructure in the City of London and the millions of trees in Greater London.
Identified Bat Species in London
Different species of bat may be present based on location, and as such, the bats roosting in London could differ to the bats forming habitats in other parts of England. 18 species of bat are currently in the UK, with evidence indicating that 17 of these species are continuing to breed. London has five of these bat species including two types of pipistrelle bat.
London Bat Species
- Daubenton’s bat
- Natterer’s bat
- Noctule bat
- Pipistrelle bat (common pipistrelle and Nathusius’s pipistrelle)
Legal protections within UK and European legislation prevent harm or disturbance from coming to bats. As bats can appear almost anywhere – including throughout all areas of the London region – it is possible that a development project could act as an obstacle to bat habitats and vice versa.
In order to avoid breaching the law by harming bats and prevent bat roosts from prompting delays to your planning project, developers would be advised to book a bat survey with a licensed ecological surveyor.
Bat Inspections on Development Sites
Prior to any bat surveys, an ecologist will often conduct a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) as a method of identifying any and all protected animal species and valuable or invasive plant species on a development site. When an ecological consultant finds evidence that bats could be present during a PEA, they will recommend a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) or Scoping Bat Survey to confirm bat occupancy and determine roosting locations.
An ecological consultant will approach a PRA using sightings of bat carcasses, remains of prey and bat droppings as evidence that bats are present. They will also ask the developer core questions about their project and use the insights to work out if the development project will be likely to disturb bats on the site. If evidence suggests that there are no bats present or that bats on the site are away from harm, they will reflect this opinion in the bat survey report and no further assessments will be needed. If, however, bats are on the site and could be affected by the planning project, the ecologist will be required to undertake a Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS).
In a BERS assessment, multiple ecological consultants will visit the site over several dates outside of hibernation between the months of May and September. During each visit, the ecologists involved will use specialist equipment to monitor bats entering and exiting the site. Not only can this be used as an opportunity to work out specific locations where bats are arriving at and leaving from on the site, but using video cameras and sound recorders, the ecological surveyors can identify the species of bat inhabiting the plot of land.
As with the Scoping Bat Survey, the Bat Emergence Survey will conclude with the main ecologist developing a bat survey report. In the bat report, all of the information about the assessment, the ecological consultant’s findings, and effective next steps will be included. Your local planning authority in London will recognise the bat survey report as a tangible, reliable and accountable analysis that will assist them in the decision to grant or deny an application for planning permission.
Competent Bat Ecologists
Bats are situated across England and, despite the high percentage of urban areas over rural areas, London is no different. As a precaution, we recommend booking a bat survey if you are under the impression that bats are or may be present on your development site. That way, you can avoid causing harm to bats in the area, remain within the rules of relevant UK laws, eliminate likely delays to your development project, and prove to the planning department of your local council that a licensed ecologist has properly assessed the site.
With the necessary qualifications and experience of conducting an array of ecological assessments across London and the rest of England, our ecologists are ready and able to perform a bat survey on your site. For a free quote based on your project, talk to our team and we will be able to arrange a time to undertake a bat survey and assist you with gaining a planning condition.