Planning permission for the demolition of a timber shed, stables and a workshop had been applied for from the Forest of Dean District Council. Bat surveys were required to be undertaken prior to the demolition of the structure and Acer Ecology Ltd. undertook the initial inspection as well as the three following dusk emergence and dawn re-entry surveys. During the internal inspection, a small number of droppings were found inside the stables, which were identified by DNA analysis as those of lesser horseshoe bat droppings.
During the first two dusk emergence and dawn re-entry surveys, no bats were observed using the structure, but many species were recorded foraging and commuting on site (common pipistrelle, soprano pipistrelle, greater horseshoe bats, lesser horseshoe bats, Myotis, brown long-eared bats and noctules). During the third dusk emergence survey, three lesser horseshoe bats were identified flying in and out of the stables. The roost was classified as a night roost due to the low number of three lesser horseshoe bats.
Before the demolition, the structure was re-surveyed for any bats present. The builders undertaking the demolition were inducted regarding any bat-related issues and the procedures to follow in the event that a bat was encountered during the works.
The mitigation proposed involved building a timber lean-to onto the southern end of the newly proposed workshop building. The opening of the lean-to was positioned to face the vegetation along the western side of the building for the entrance to be protected from light-spill from the windows of the building and was in direct proximity of the bat commuting and foraging routes along the vegetation. There are no artificial lights installed near to the timber lean-to. The on-site builders worked closely with our ecologists to ensure that demolition works proceeded in a bat-friendly way and the details within the bat mitigation plan were followed.
Credit also to the builders, Homestead Garden Rooms, for the completion of this project.