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How are bat surveys done?

Bats are secretive animals and a great deal is still unknown about their habits and behaviour. The fact that they fly at night, make sounds which we are unable to hear and leave almost no clues to indicate their presence make surveying for them a highly skilled practice. We rely on experience and the latest technology to make sure that the results we produce are accurate reliable and up to the standard required by Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage.

UES can provide a full spectrum of bat related advice, survey work, reports, licence applications, mitigation and habitat / roost creation.

Bat Surveys

What type of bat survey do I need?

The type of bat survey required will depend on your individual project; a large rural or offshore wind farm will need a different type of survey and a different level of survey effort than a barn conversion or a loft conversion in an urban centre. However, typically we will start with a bat scoping survey to identify any field signs of bats and potential for bats to be using the site. Scoping surveys can be undertaken at any time of year.

Should evidence of bat activity be found or there is potential for the site to be used by roosting bats further bat presence / absence surveys may be required. These more detailed surveys assess how bats are using the site including numbers, species and roosting points. Bat presence / absence surveys can only be conducted during the bat survey season, May to September inclusive.

Bat surveys should only be undertaken by licenced bat ecologists. UES employees include Natural England, Natural Resources Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage licensed bat ecologists, who are legally allowed to; disturb bats as part of surveying, enter known bat roosts and handle bats.

UK bats

There are 18 species of bat living in the UK (17 of which are breeding). Bats need different roosting conditions at different times of the year and they will often move around to find a roost that meets their needs. In summer, female bats form maternity roosts while in winter, bats use hibernation roosts. Most bats in the UK evolved to live in trees and caves, but many have now adapted to roost in buildings including barns, houses, tunnels and bridges.

Bats are susceptible to changes in their environment and their numbers have decreased dramatically over the last century. Changes in agricultural practices, the loss of woodlands and hedgerows and the expansion of our towns and cities, have taken valuable habitat from our native bat species. As a result of this bats have become protected by UK and European legislation.

The law

All species of bat are fully protected under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). In summary, you may commit a criminal offence if you:

• 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 the breeding or resting place (roost) of a bat;
• Possess a bat (alive or dead), or any part of a bat;
• Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost;
• Possess a GCN, or any part of it, unless acquired lawfully;
• Sell, barter, exchange or transport or offer for sale bats or parts of them.

Any disturbance of a bat occupying a roost can lead to prosecution. Disturbance can be caused by noise, vibration and artificial lighting. Penalties include fines of £5000 per bat, imprisonment and the seizure of equipment.

As a protected species Local Planning Authority’s (LPA) will often ask for a bat survey to be undertaken as part of planning if the proposed development has the potential to impact on bats or their habitats. It should be noted that developments which are not subject to planning permission are still subject to the above legislation.

Mitigation

A bat method statement will be required if roosting bats are recorded on site. The method statement will need to be submitted with your planning application in order to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority how you will ensure no protected species will be adversely affected by the proposed development, and demonstrate how you will secure a European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) once planning permission has been granted. Our experienced and licensed ecologists can provide advice on mitigation methods. These may include the retention of bat roosts and foraging and commuting habitats, design modifications to building plans, advice on timing of works to minimise disturbance, and the provision of new habitats and roosts such as the erection of bat boxes.

European protected species licenses (EPSL) and bat low impact class licences (BLICL)

Any action or development which has the potential to impact on bats or their habitats must be carried out under a licence issued by Natural England, Natural Resources Wales or Scottish Natural Heritage.

In England, developments with low numbers of common bat species can be completed under a bat low impact class licence issued by Natural England. Toby Hart, UES’ Managing Director, is one of only a handful of people to have successfully registered for a BLICL issued by Natural England. This new streamlined licensing process permits works that have low impacts on certain bat species and certain roost types, but which still needed to be licensed in order to meet legal requirements.

Developments with higher numbers of bats / roosts or rarer bat species can be completed under a European protected species licence issued by Natural England. The EPSL has to be completed by a licenced bat ecologist with previous experience of similar projects, and must be based on up to date survey information.

All developments with roosting bats in Wales and Scotland must be carried out under a EPS licence.

Ecological clerk of works (EcOW)

Once you are ready to start on site an ecological clerk of works will be required in order to ensure the EPSL is fully implemented and that no bats are harmed throughout the development. This usually includes an ecological toolbox talk to contractors, roost inspections, supervision during soft demolition of the roosts, and translocation of bats. Only licenced bat ecologists are allowed to handle bats.

About us

UES specialise in managing large capital infrastructure projects where ecological issues can pose significant risks to overall development programmes and construction timelines. Many of our projects come from repeat business and recommendations. Our client base includes developers, planners, architects, engineers, home owners, LPA’s, and statutory nature organisations. In short, we have significant knowledge of what is required to achieve planning permission without going to prohibitively expensive lengths to get it. Our commercial clients include:

• Arup
• Barratt Wilson Homes
• Cheshire East Council
• Cheshire Wildlife Trust
• Crown Estates
• Denbighshire County Council
• Education Funding Agency
• Gleeds
• GVA
• Interserve
• Jacobs
• Kier Construction
• Laing O’Rourke
• Lidl
• Liverpool County Council
• Muse Developments
• National Grid
• Network Rail
• North Wales Police
• Seddon Homes
• United Utilities PLC
• Wrexham Council

More information

UES are a corporate member of the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT), who are a charity that does a lot of good work for the conservation of bats. They organise and run lots of projects with the aim of creating better habitats for bats. For more information visit the BCT website: http://www.bats.org.uk/

Please contact us if you require any further advice or require a quotation

    Related Species

  • Bats

Case Studies

Phase 2a for High Speed 2 (HS2)

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December 2016
Site: Phase 2a for High Speed 2 (HS2) - from the West Midlands to Crewe Client: Biocensus c/o Arup ##Project overview In spring 2016 UES were subcontracted ... more...

Reptile translocation in Gloucestershire

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September 2016
Site: Lydney, Gloucestershire Client: MMC Land and Regeneration ##Project overview UES was commissioned to produce a suite of ecological reports in order to ... more...

Protected species surveys in Lydney

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August 2016
Site: Lydney, Gloucestershire Client: MMC Land and Regeneration ##Project overview UES were instructed to carry out ecological surveys on a former golf cours... more...

Surveys in Hebburn, Northumberland

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March 2016
Site: Former shipyard in Hebburn, Northumberland Client: MMC2 Protected species / habitats: bats, birds, invertebrates, reptiles and saltmarsh ##Project over... more...

Bat scoping survey in Bidston, Wirral

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February 2016
Site: Bidston, Wirral Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES were appointed by a local developer to undertake bat surveys of a house in the Bidston a... more...

Bat surveys of 31 schools across England

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February 2016
Site: 31 schools across England including Yorkshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Derbyshire, Nottingham, Greater London and Kent. Client: Education Funding A... more...

Bat & GCN surveys in Runcorn, Cheshire

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December 2015
Site: Runcorn, Cheshire Client: Cranford Estates Protected species: Great crested newts & bats ##Project overview UES carried out a preliminary ecological a... more...

Bat surveys of 6 schools in Nottinghamshire

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December 2015
Site: 6 schools in Nottinghamshire Client: Education Funding Agency and Kier Construction Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES were commissioned b... more...

BLE maternity roost in Watlington

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November 2015
Site: Watlington, Oxfordshire Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES carried out a bat scoping survey of a private residential dwelling in October 20... more...

Bat surveys in Colchester, Essex

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October 2015
Site: Colchester, Essex Client: Dishland Ltd Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES were appointed by Dishland Ltd to undertake ecological surveys ... more...

Bat survey of Llandudno Police Station

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September 2015
Site: Llandudno Police Station, Conwy Client: North Wales Police Protected species: Bats and breeding birds ##Project overview UES were appointed by North W... more...

Bat & bird surveys of 85 houses in Wrexham

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September 2015
Site: 85 properties in Wrexham Client: Wrexham County Borough Council Protected species: Bats and breeding birds ##Project overview Wrexham Council commissi... more...

Bat surveys in Anfield, Liverpool

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August 2015
Site: Anfield, Liverpool Client: Liverpool City Council Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES were appointed by Liverpool City Council to undertake... more...

Bat scoping survey of Lidl in Holyhead

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February 2015
Site: Lidl, Holyhead Client: Lidl UK GmbH Protected species: Bats ##Project overview UES were commissioned by Lidl in February 2015 to undertake a bat scopi... more...

European Protected Species Licence for Bats

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March 2013
UES is currently preparing a European Protected Species License application for bats issued by Natural England. The application is for the demolition and redeve... more...

Bat survey near Chester

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April 2012
A bat scoping survey and bird scoping survey of a farm building in Golborne, Cheshire was carried out by UES. Golborne is a small village south of Chester. T... more...

Bat survey in Wilmslow, Cheshire

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March 2012
UES have completed a bat survey and habitat survey of a property in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Bat surveys of the buildings on site consisting of initial building ins... more...

European Protected Species Licence - Bats

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February 2012
UES have recently completed a European Protected Species Licence application for a building in Oxfordshire. Bat surveys were conducted by UES in September 201... more...

Bat scoping surveys in Liverpool

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November 2011
UES have recently been commissioned to complete bat scoping surveys of 70 houses in Edge Hill, Liverpool for Powell Demolition and Builders Ltd. The houses are ... more...

Bat scoping survey in Lancashire

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November 2011
UES recently completed a bat scoping survey of a house and associated outbuildings in Lancashire. Our client has plans to demolish a number of buildings onsite ... more...

Phase 1 Habitat Survey in Winchester

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November 2011
UES recently completed an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of an old mill in Winchester. An Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey involves mapping the habitats on the ... more...

Bats and badgers in Buckinghamshire

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November 2011
UES conducted a full bat survey of a barn in Marlow, Buckinghamshire in September 2011. Our client plans to change the use of the barn from agricultural to a dw... more...

Bat and ecological survey in Swindon

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October 2011
UES recently completed a bat and ecological scoping survey of a farm in Swindon. Our client has plans to demolish a number of buildings on site and convert othe... more...

Bat survey in Cranage, Cheshire

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August 2011
UES have completed a bat presence/absence survey at a site in Cheshire. Our client intended to demolish a house and re build on the same plot. Bat surveys were ... more...

Extended phase 1 habitat survey in Deeside

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August 2011
UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Deeside, North Wales in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development... more...

Bat scoping survey in High Wycombe

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July 2011
UES completed a bat scoping survey of St Francis Church in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The bat scoping survey consisted of an external building inspection a... more...

Bat survey of nursing home in Staffordshire

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July 2011
UES recently completed a bat survey of a nursing home in Kings Bromley, Staffordshire. The bat survey consisted of a full internal building inspection and a ful... more...

Extended phase 1 survey in Oxfordshire

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June 2011
UES have completed an extended phase 1 habitat survey of a site in Oxfordshire in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development would ha... more...

Bat scoping survey in Hale, Cheshire

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March 2011
UES have completed a bat scoping survey of a residential property in Hale, Cheshire. The property is in a poor state of repair and our client has plans to demo... more...

Bat scoping survey in Bootle, Liverpool

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February 2011
UES have completed a bat scoping survey of a small industrial site in Bootle near Liverpool. The bat scoping survey consisted of internal and external buildin... more...

Great crested newt trapping scheme

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November 2010
Project summary In 2008/09, UES were instructed to conduct a Great Crested Newt (GCN) mitigation scheme for Augean PLC at Slipe Clay pits in King’s Cliffe, n... more...

Bat mitigation measures Mobberley

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November 2010
A house renovation project in Mobberley which included building bat boxes into the Gable end wall has recently been completed. The house originally had slate ha... more...

Habitat creation for MMU Crewe

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November 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to design mitigation measures for birds and bats into the new sports science centre at Manchester Metropolitan U... more...

Breeam Habitat Survey, North Wales

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November 2010
UES were commissioned to conduct a Phase 1 Habitat Survey of a site in Mochdre, North Wales. The developer has plans to construct a small house on the site. The... more...

Breeam Habitat Survey in Birmingham

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November 2010
UES were commissioned to provide an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of o high rise office complex near Edgbaston in Birmingham. The Survey is to provide informa... more...

Ecological surveys and advice in Congleton

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October 2010
In August 2010, United Utilities and their associated agents The Vinden Partnership applied for planning permission for slope stabilisation works adjacent the ... more...

Ecological Surveys near Nantwich in Cheshire

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October 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out an Extended Phase 1 Habitat survey, bat surveys, barn owl surveys and to provide advice on any grea... more...

Bat survey in Timperley, Cheshire

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October 2010
United Environmental services were commissioned to carry out bat surveys of an industrial site in Timperley, Cheshire. The site consists of a series of large in... more...

National Bat Monitoring Program

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October 2010
United Environmental Services have participated in this years National Bat Monitoring Program (NBMP) which is organised by the Bat Conservation Trust. UES carri... more...

Bat surveys using the Anabat system

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June 2010
Bats have evolved over millions of years in a way which has made it difficult for predators to find them. This is good for the survival of bats, but it makes fi... more...

Bat surveys near Holmes Chapel, Cheshire

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June 2010
We have recently completed a full bat survey at a property near Holmes Chapel in Cheshire. The property had been empty for over 18 months and was in a poor stat... more...

Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey Flintshire

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May 2010
United Environmental Services have completed an Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey of a site near the town of Flint in North Wales. The site has been a dis-used br... more...

Extended Phase 1 habitat Survey Crewe

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May 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out an Extended Phase 1 habitat survey of a farm building and its surrounding habitat Close to Hartingt... more...

Bat EPS Licence Berkshire

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April 2010
We are currently writing a European Protected Species Method statement for a development in Hurst near Reading in Berkshire. This follows on from bat surveys w... more...

Demolition of old mill buildings

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February 2010
United Environmental Services were commissioned to carry out bat surveys on a series of old mill buildings in Tunstall near stoke on Trent. The buildings on the... more...

Tarbock Hall Golf Course

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January 2010
Tarbock Hall is a 86 hectare parcel of land west of Liverpool. The land was used for agriculture until 2000 when it was sold to a team of developers who wanted ... more...