Old farm buildings are often used by bats and barn owls which are protected species. Local authority planners will expect to see surveys completed prior to determination of planning permission in order to ensure that no harm is done to protected species by the development. Roost boxes and bat bricks can be built into structures to help improve habitats for them locally.
Extended Phase 1 habitat Survey, Hartington Crewe
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey of a farm building and its surrounding habitat Close to Hartington in Crewe, Cheshire. The owner has plans to convert the building back into use as a dwelling. Cheshire East Council planning department insist on ecological surveys prior to planning permission being granted.
Old and unused farm buildings such as barns often have good potential for use by protected species such as bats and barn owls. The buildings themselves can offer shelter and a place to rear young. The surrounding farmland habitats with areas of open grassland, ancient hedgerows and mature trees offer high quality foraging habitat for many species. Barn owls use the open field areas to hunt for small mammals such as the short tailed field vole. Bats use the hedgerows to forage and commute above and sometimes roost in cavities in the mature trees. Different species of bats use buildings in different ways, some (such as the brown long eared bat) like to roost in open roof spaces whilst other crevice dwelling species such as pipistrelles use gaps underneath roof tiles and soffit boards to shelter.