Hampshire’s Urban and Rural Locations
With around 300,000 residents occupying countryside parts of the county, Hampshire in South East England is classed as 75% rural. Due to the number of natural areas, untouched towns and villages, and the close proximity to the coast, the county of Hampshire features a selection of different green areas.
Across a county with as much variety as Hampshire, bats and other similar species are gifted high potential roosting opportunities. In the UK, there are 17 known species of bat present, and locations with a mix of rural and urban features such as Hampshire present numerous possibilities for bat roosts.
A bat roost can be created in a broad range of both natural features such as trees and man-made features such as certain types of infrastructure. With this in mind, bats are not only likely to occupy trees and hedgerows, but also the houses, barns, sheds and garages in the more developed parts of the county.
A fully protected species under multiple pieces of UK legislation, bats are strictly safeguarded and an internal and external inspection of the site will be needed before the local planning authority within Hampshire County Council will allow for any work to go ahead that could put present bats in any form of harm.
Community Groups for Bats
By forming local bat groups, considerate residents and ecologists in the area can protect bats to a necessary standard. Managing presentations, public events and generally providing the people of Hampshire with information about present bats and instructions if they are found, the Hampshire Bat Group holds jurisdiction over the county.
Utilising the support of the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the Hampshire Bat Group can offer full protection to the many bat species in the county, including the alcathoe bat, barbastelle bat, bechstein’s bat, brandt’s bat, brown long-eared bat, daubenton’s bat, greater horseshoe bat, grey long-eared bat, leisler’s bat, lesser horseshoe bat, natterer’s bat, noctule bat, pipistrelle bat, serotine bat and whiskered bat.
All of these bats are legally protected by certain pieces of active legislation, such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. Bat groups are wary of the harm that could come to bats in any likely scenario, but particularly in development projects that could disturb bats or their roosts.
Duties that allow bat groups to assist on local developments involve them offering help to developers that are aiming to meet the relevant requirements, and working with the local council on the criteria used to grant or deny planning applications. By booking a bat survey, however, developers can gain guarantees that they are adhering to laws around bat protection and remove any obstacles on the path to gaining full planning permission.
Inspecting a Property or Site for Bats
The requirement for a bat survey will often be prompted by the developer finding evidence of bats on the site or property, or as the result of an earlier ecology survey to gauge present ecological constraints in the planning process, such as a Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey. Proven or suspected bat occupancy will then trigger a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA), enabling a licensed ecologist to carry out the necessary inspections.
A Preliminary Roost Assessment will see an ecologist looking over all areas of the site and present buildings and trees for indications of roosting bats, including bat droppings, carcasses and the remains of prey, as well as any features that could potentially act as suitable roosting locations, either now or in the future. The bat ecologist will then produce a report to outline findings from the assessment and, assuming no bats were found, confirm to the relevant local planning authorities that there is no obvious reason to refuse planning permission.
If bats, bat roosts or indications of bat activity are found, however, the ecologist will be unable to rule out bat occupancy, the bat report will include mitigation measures to allow the project to move forwards despite the presence of bats, and a Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS) will be needed. Also commonly known as a Bat Activity Survey, Bat Emergence Surveys are designed for multiple ecologists to visit the site over several visits during dusk and dawn between the summer months of May and September to monitor entry and exit points.
Information gathered from Bat Activity Surveys includes bat species and population numbers, helped by the use of highly specialised survey equipment such as automated bat detectors, voice recorders, tools for DNA analysis, and cameras that utilise infrared, night vision and thermal imaging technology. Once again, Emergence and Re-Entry Surveys will result in the ecologist producing an ecology report, just as they would with any other ecological surveys and European protected species surveys. Featuring mitigation measures and other data incorporated to satisfy the local authority, the report should include everything needed to secure a successful planning application.
Call Our Bat Experts
Based all over the country and carrying an in-depth understanding of good practice guidelines for conducting ecological survey work, our ecological consultants are experts in their field and can offer impactful help to clients in Hampshire whenever surveys are required. Throughout every stage of the bat survey process, we will take the correct steps that are generally required, from the first step of finding bat potential or species present, to undertaking a low-cost bat survey, and even additional considerations such as assisting with the application for a European protected species licence to Natural England / Natural Resources Wales if needed.
Whether it is active season or if you are planning ahead for further survey work in the future due to current seasonal constraints, you will need our services if bats are present on your site. All you need to do is speak to us directly by calling us via the number above or providing extensive details of your project on our online quote form. We can then plan the necessary ecological appraisals at an early stage, book the required Preliminary Roost Assessments at the right place in your works schedule, and avoid delays that commercial developers would otherwise find from arranging without forethought.
As we offer a free quote to clients, you can reap the benefits of our affordable prices. Our team are advanced in identifying bats and roosting potential as part of the survey effort across a development site. It is a criminal offence to disturb bats in any way, shape or form, and as doing so will also harm your development plans, reaching out to us for help with a Preliminary Roost Assessment, Bat Activity Surveys and further surveys if needed would eliminate any risk of breaking the law, putting your development into uncertainty and falling short of planning permission.