Bat Surveys in Hertfordshire

Many species of bats occupy both urban and rural areas across the country. Natural areas like Hertfordshire are particularly prone to bat occupancy, and as such, development projects in these areas often require bat surveys as an assurance to the local council.

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Roosting Locations in the Hertfordshire Area

A county with a variety of developed and untouched areas, Hertfordshire in the East of England is classed as 70% rural but with a scattering of partly urban towns and villages. Containing a selection of notable urban areas such as Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and St Albans, Hertfordshire sees the majority of rural locations towards the east of the county.

Such an abundance of natural features opens up the option of numerous roosting locations for nearby bats. Likewise, bats roost in buildings such as houses, sheds, barns and garages. Between rural and urban features, Hertfordshire is an ideal location for bats to roost in almost any man-made or natural features situated throughout the area.

17 recorded bat species inhabit the UK, with a different selection of these species found in each part of the country based on climate and potential roosting opportunities. In order to ensure that bats aren’t unnecessarily or carelessly harmed, UK legislation safeguards protected species, with bats featuring as one of the priority species due to the rarity of sightings and dwindling population numbers.

Bat Groups and Societies

In counties across the country, bat groups are formed as a way of allowing qualified ecologists and passionate residents to support the conservation, preservation and protection of bats. The Hertfordshire & Middlesex Bat Group oversees bats in the county, providing conservation projects, events, studies and walks to the people of Hertfordshire, as well as assisting Natural England, residents that come across bats and any bats that are found sick, injured or orphaned.

From the list of bat species present in the UK, bats spotted in Hertfordshire include the barbastelle bat, brandt’s bat, brown long-eared bat, daubenton’s bat, leisler’s bat, natterer’s bat, noctule bat, pipistrelle bat, serotine bat and whiskered bat. With help from the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Bat Group supports local bats and the nationwide legislation that protects them.

Under 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, bats situated in the UK are protected as one of several listed protected species. Bat groups are commonly involved with the local council, as development projects involving the demolition or alteration of existing buildings and trees can put native bats in danger.

Bat groups support the local authorities by offering advice to developers who are aiming to meet the requirements involving protected species and assisting the local planning authority with producing criteria that sufficiently covers bats and other protected species. Although a potential cause for concern in the eyes of developers, they can ensure adherence to relevant policies, allow their project to move into future stages and secure planning permission by booking a bat survey with our team.

Inspections for Suspected Bat Occupancy

A bat survey can be prompted in one of two ways: as a result of a prior Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey or based on observations of the site or property that could indicate that bats are present. Suspected or proven bat occupancy will then lead to a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA), starting the bat surveying process and giving a bat surveyor an opportunity to search the site or property for indications of bat roosts or bats, such as bat carcasses, bat droppings or the remains of prey.

Looking at trees, buildings and other suitable roosting locations, the ecologist will then produce a bat survey report to detail their findings from the survey work. What happens next will then be determined by the outcome of Preliminary Roost Assessments on the site, with a recommendation to the local planning authority to accept a planning application if there are no bats present, or outlined mitigation measures and an insistence on further surveys if bats or evidence of bats is found.

After the first step in the bat survey process, the second step will involve a Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS). Sometimes better known as a Bat Activity Survey or simply as a Bat Emergence Survey, several bat ecologists will attend the site during the summer months between May and September at dusk and dawn to monitor likely entry and exit points. With advanced survey tools, the bat surveyor will collect information of the present species of bats based on visual evidence and echolocation calls.

Every ecology survey will result in the surveyor producing a report, and due to the nature of Bat Emergence Surveys, information from the assessment should then sufficiently meet the requirements of the local council, with evidence from the internal and external inspection giving the planning department all they need to lead to a successful planning permission application.

Speak to Our Bat Team

Carrying the sufficient training, experience and licensing, our ecological surveyors are capable of attending development sites and conducting bat surveys to greatly bolster planning applications. We can also assist with European protected species licence (EPSL) applications if one is needed to relocate a bat or destroy a bat roost as a result of the bat surveys we undertake.

For a free quote, send across your details using our online quote form or by speaking to one of our team over the phone. We can then set a date for a bat survey on your site and work with you to get your property or land development moving into the next stage. Contact our team and with our help, you can satisfy the conditions of the local authorities, gain planning consent and eliminate any likelihood of harming your development plans.