What is a bat risk assessment?
The most common term for this process is a Preliminary Roost Assessment, where a qualified and licensed bat ecologist visits a site and looks for evidence and potential for bats.
The term ‘bat risk assessment’ appears to be more commonly used in the north-east and Northumberland but isn’t frequently encountered in the south-west.
Why would I need a bat survey?
Undertaking a bat risk assessment is incredibly important as it will determine if your development will be harmful to bats and their roosts by assessing the potential impacts of the development.
Why is this necessary?
In the UK there are 18 species of bat, all of which are legally protected. If your development is likely to impact the buildings, trees and other areas that could be used by bats as a roost, then further surveys to identify which species and how many there are, will be required.
Historic trends show that bats are in steady decline due to human encroachment on their habitats, habitat fragmentation, and roost destruction. Destroying or disturbing a bat roost are criminal offences so it is important to abide by the guidelines by getting in touch and employing a bat ecologist as bats are protected by the law.
Can bat risk assessments be conducted by anyone?
No, they cannot. To conduct a bat risk assessment, you require the services of a qualified, licensed bat ecologist who has a range of skills and qualifications which enable them to identify signs and potential for bats in various structures. A bat surveyor will also have a licence issued to them by Natural England, the organisation in England that oversees maintaining and enhancing the natural environment.
We have four fully licensed ecologists that can conduct bat risk assessment all over the UK. Contact us now for a bat survey!
Is there a time frame for doing this type of assessment?
No, there is not, you can do this survey at any time of year. However, bats are elusive creatures and even if a surveyor does not find evidence of a bat being present, this does not mean that they are not present at other times of the year. Therefore, ecologists look for both evidence and potential. If there is ‘low’, ‘moderate’ or ‘high potential’, this will determine the number of additional surveys that are required.
What time of year can further surveys be carried out?
These further surveys are restricted to the times when bats are active and are not in hibernation. They can be conducted between the months of May and September inclusive. Depending on the level of potential, this will dictate the number of further surveys required.
Animals will use their surroundings differently depending on the time of year. Find out more about when certain surveys can be undertaken by checking our survey calendar.
If the bat ecologist finds evidence of bats or no evidence, then do I need a further survey?
Yes, you do, even if there is evidence you will still require further surveys to accurately characterise the type of roost and the number and species present. This will enable you to apply for a European Protected Species licence so that your development can go ahead.
If no evidence is found then the level of potential dictates the number of further surveys. Bats often roost in parts of the building which are inaccessible during the first survey (wall cavities, roof structures, etc.). Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence! Follow up surveys may reveal bats using the building even if no evidence is found during the first survey.
Will this stop my development?
No, it will not. Sometimes delays can be caused, but if you do some research and time it right, get your bat risk assessment booked at the start of the year, then your further surveys booked from May onwards, if bats are present, you should be able to apply for an EPS licence in a timely manner.
Additional steps will also be taken to protect the bats, for example, the timing of works to avoid the times of year bats would be more likely to be in the building, soft strip techniques to prevent potential injury to bats during the works and various types of mitigation.
What is mitigation?
Mitigation is a way in which you can replace the bat roost that may be lost due to the development. We usually try to replace the roost like for like, for example, if a crevice dwelling bat (pipistrelle) is found roosting under a ridge tile, then this will be replaced on the new build. Bat boxes are also a way to mitigate and to enhance an area for bats.
More information on different kinds of bat mitigation can be found on our bat mitigation page.
I need a bat risk assessment – how do I get started
Get in touch with us! We are happy to assist you in all the steps needed so that your project goes as smoothly as possible, Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org send us plans, photos and details of your site and we can provide you with a quotation free of charge!