There are 17 different species of bat native to the UK. This makes them the largest and most diverse group of mammals in the country.
Bats have dynamic lifestyles and use a number of roosts throughout the year including hibernation, transitional and maternity roosts (among others). Roosts are places that bats use for shelter and rest and can be found in numerous different locations depending on the species. Bats can be found roosting in buildings, trees, caves, mines and bridges; depending on the species bats will roost within small crevices, closely against structures or freely hanging from walls, ceilings or ledges of caves or buildings.
All UK bats are insectivorous and use echolocation to find their way in the dark and hunt. Bats also use ultrasonic calls to communicate with each other and find mates.
Bats typically only have a single pup per year which is nursed by the mother for up to six weeks until it is able to fly and hunt for itself. Before then the mother will often carry the baby when changing roosts and will leave it tucked away in the roost with other young for short periods whilst she is away hunting. The mother will also take it out on its first flights and show it how to find food. It is thought that mothers also take their young to hibernation sites such as caves where bats swarm in autumn to find mates and socialise.
Our team can provide all bat surveys commonly required for development including the following:
Building inspections and assessment of potential roosting features
Collection and DNA analysis of bat droppings to confirm species
Activity surveys of buildings to record bats as they emerge or return to their roost
Transect surveys of potential bat habitat
Remote sensing of bat activity using static bat detectors
All species of bat and their breeding sites or resting places (roosts) are protected under Regulation 41 of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended).
It is an offence for anyone to intentionally kill, injure or handle a bat, to possess a bat (whether live or dead), disturb a roosting bat, or sell or offer a bat for sale without a licence. It is also an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to any place used by bats for shelter, whether they are present or not.
If the proposed development will result in damage or disturbance of bats or their roosts a licence from the relevant authority is required to allow the activity to progress lawfully.
Please see our section on EPS Mitigation licences.
Mitigation & Compensation
If bats are present and will be affected by the development appropriate mitigation and compensation measures have to be taken to minimise any negative impact on the bat population. Mitigation measures are typically practices which aim to reduce or remove damage (e.g. by changing the layout of a scheme, or altering the timing of the work). Compensation refers to the creation of new features to offset the damage that was caused by the activities.
We can advise and recommend appropriate mitigation and compensation measures for a scheme.
Activities which require mitigation and compensation measures typically have to be carried out under a licence unless an exception applies.