Brown Long Eared Bat by Joxerra aihartza via Wikimedia Commons

To book your Stage 2 Bat Surveys

Call Midland Ecology

07854473385

or email info@midlandecology.co.uk

For fast, friendly and affordable service

Time's running out for 2019 bat surveys

Bats (Chiroptera) and their roosts are protected by law.

If bats or suspected roosts are found on your site, in most cases you should be able to avoid harming the bats or damaging their roosts by adjusting your planned work. If you can’t avoid disturbing them or damaging their habitats, you will require a licence from Natural England. In order to grant a licence, Natural England will need to know several factors, including the species of bat, how many, the type of roost, and how it is being used. These are the type of questions that stage 2 bat surveys are designed to answer.

Stage 2 surveys are required when presence of bats cannot be ruled out by the Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA). Reasons for this can include: evidence of bats, evidence of their activity within the building/structure, or the presence of suitable bat roosting locations that cannot be accessed.

Where a bat roost has been found, 3 Roost Characterisation Surveys will be required.

In other instances trees, structures and linear features are assigned a rating of suitability for supporting bats from negligible to high potential during the Preliminary Roost Assessment. The rating is based on factors such as the location in the surrounding landscape, and the number and type of features suitable for use by bats, amongst others. This rating determines whether, and how many, stage 2 surveys should be undertaken.

Bat Presence/Absence Surveys of buildings and trees look for bats emerging from (at dusk) or re-entering into (at dawn) possible roost locations.

Activity Transects are required when a development proposes a change in land use or changes in landscape (e.g. installation of new lighting, removal of hedgerow). These aim to establish the likely impact on bat commuting and foraging habitats.

Bats are highly susceptible to habitat loss and fragmentation and therefore many bat populations are tentative. Bats have a relatively low reproductive rate and are particularly vulnerable to a range of threats. Bats need many different types of roosts throughout the year, and return to these same roosts year on year. They are highly social animals meaning a number of bats could be using any one roost at the same time. The loss of a single roost alone can, therefore, have a serious impact on populations. As such, all bats in the UK are given protected consideration under the 1981 amended Wildlife and Countryside Act and within various legislation and policy guidelines. Cumulatively, this legislation makes it illegal to:

- Deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat

- Intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat in its roost or deliberately disturb a group of bats

- Damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time)

- Possess or advertise/sell/exchange a bat (dead or alive) or any part of a bat

- Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost

A roost is generally interpreted to mean “any structure or place, which any wild bat uses for shelter or protection.” Bats return to different roosts at different times of year. Roosts are therefore protected by law whether or not bats are present at the time.

If you carry out work affecting bats or roosts without a license you will be breaking the law. Penalties on conviction include:

- A maximum fine of £5,000 per incident or per bat (some roosts contain several hundred bats)

- Up to six months in prison

- Forfeiture of items used to commit the offence, e.g. vehicles, plant, machinery

In order to conduct your stage 2 bat survey(s), Midland Ecology will require the following information:

- Your/your client’s name and contact details (e-mail address and telephone number)

- The full site address

- Access to be arranged for a convenient time
(NB it is not necessary for you to be present during the survey as long as there is open access to the exterior of the building or to the tree. Please ensure any alarm/lock codes/keys are sent to us in advance).

- A copy of your Preliminary Roost Assessment, if carried out by another Ecologist.

- Full site plan including the current layout of any buildings on site (in PDF format).

- Your development proposals (in PDF format).

Bat presence/absence surveys can be conducted May – September inclusive, with mid-May – August being the optimal season for surveying maternity colonies. Surveys conducted during early May or September may require a greater survey effort and justification as to why they were conducted at this time. Where multiple survey visits are required, these should be spread out; ideally across the season, but a minimum of 2 weeks apart.

Roost characterisation surveys can be conducted May – September inclusive, with at least 2 survey visits between mid-May – August; the optimal season for surveying maternity colonies. 3 survey visits are required in total. These should be spread out, ideally across the season, but a minimum of 2 weeks apart.

Activity transects are conducted April - October inclusive. The number of surveys required is dependent upon the suitability of the habitat for bats:

Low: One survey visit per season (spring – April/May, summer – June/July/August, autumn - September/October)

Moderate: One survey visit per month (April to October). At least one of the surveys should comprise dusk and pre-dawn (or dusk to dawn) within one 24-hour period.

High: Up to two survey visits per month (April to October). At least one of the surveys should comprise dusk and pre-dawn (or dusk to dawn) within one 24-hour period.

Stage 2 surveys are undertaken either at dusk or dawn and are dependent upon sunset/sunrise times, which change throughout the year. Dawn surveys can start up to 2 hours before sunrise and will continue up to 30 minutes after sunrise. Dusk surveys begin up to 30 minutes before sunset and will continue up to 2 hours after sunset.

Click here to view our survey calendar

Stage 2 bat surveys are weather dependent. They cannot be completed in high winds, heavy rain, or if the ambient temperature falls below 7°C; as bats generally don’t fly in these conditions. Good visibility is also needed in order to be confident of a survey’s result. If poor conditions are forecast it may be necessary to reschedule the survey. We will contact you beforehand to inform you of this, and to re-book your survey for the next available slot.

During presence/absence or roost characterisation surveys, a team of surveyors will observe all elevations of all buildings, structures and trees reported as having bats, or potential for bats in the Preliminary Roost Assessment. The number of surveyors required is dependent upon the shape, size and access to the building. The number of visits required will depend upon the level of potential for bats.

Activity transects involve surveyors walking transects around a site, recording bat activity. Static bat detectors may also be installed to record all bat activity over a series of nights.

The surveyors will record any species present, the intensity of the activity, and the type of activity e.g. foraging, commuting, mating, flight paths, and emergence or re-entry of bats to the building or structure. They will then use this information to try to determine the species present in a given area, to help estimate bat populations, to determine how the bats are using the area, and to find roosts.

It is assumed that a desk study, including Biological Records data, will have been included in the Preliminary Roost Assessment and this will, therefore, not be duplicated in this report.

It is not necessary for you to be present during the surveys as long as there is open access to the site and its buildings. Please ensure any alarm/lock codes/keys are sent to us in advance.

The cost of stage 2 bat surveys is determined by the number of surveyors needed and the number of visits required. The number of surveyors depends upon the size and shape of the building/site and the number of potential features highlighted in the Preliminary Roost Assessment. The number of visits is calculated by assessing the habitat value of the buildings/trees/linear features and their potential for bats; e.g. a building or tree which is deemed as having low potential for roosting bats might only need one survey visit, whereas a building which has potential for roosting bats, or is a confirmed roost, will usually require three survey visits.

Our fee includes site visits* and the production of a report, with associated costs (e.g. mileage*, expenses) all included. Call us on 07854473385 or e-mail us for a detailed quote.

*Please be aware that if the activity is more or different to that expected from the Preliminary Roost Assessment, then further surveys may be required. Your surveyor will discuss this with you and agree any further costs before undertaking the work.

Midland Ecology aims to have your finished report to you within 10 days of completing the final survey.

If no bats are found to be using the site, then this type of survey will usually provide adequate evidence to satisfy your local planning authority that your proposed development poses no risk to bats.

If bats are found to be using the site, there is no need to panic – it does not usually mean that your development can’t go ahead. In fact it is very rare that a development will need to stop altogether. A European Protected Species (EPS) development license issued by Natural England (NE) will be required prior to any works taking place and you may need to adapt your plans slightly to compensate and mitigate for the bats. Midland Ecology can work with you to obtain this development license and design a mitigation and compensation strategy to be implemented with Natural England and the Local Planning Authority.