UES were appointed by the Education Funding Authority to carry out a collection of bat surveys at schools across the northwest of England. The contract was then extended to include numerous other ecological surveys of schools that were scheduled for redevelopment across many counties in England. The development of the schools was required as part of the Government’s Priority School Building Programme (PSPB).
The teams of surveyors conducted full presence/absence surveys in 2013, 2014 and 2015 which included a series of emergence and return roost surveys on the buildings affected. Remote detectors (SM2 and Petterssen DX500) were also left in-situ to enable bat activity to be recorded throughout the survey period.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the species encountered most was common pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), with some schools also having soprano pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pygmaeus) or multiple roosts of the two pipistrelle species. Other widespread bat species such as brown long-eared (Plecotus auritus) and noctule (Nyctalus noctula) were found within the school sites. Rarer species such as Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Pipistrellus nathusii) were recorded in Kent and a former Leisler’s (Nyctalus leisleri) roost in Whitcliffe Mount, Yorkshire remaining unoccupied. The former Leisler roost has been used over the 2014 / 2015 season as a starling (Sturnus vulgaris) nest.
Many of the schools are now in the construction phase of development and UES have also won bids with the main works contractors to secure all the European Protected Species Licences (EPSL) which are now required. Other ecological surveys conducted on the school batches included reptile surveys, great crested newt surveys and impact assessments, and preliminary ecological appraisals. Prior to start on site, some projects have also required a landscape and ecology management plan (LEMP) as part of client’s BREEAM commitment.
Feedback from client
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“The extended works contract and continued tender success with the main works contractors is a testament to UES’ commitment to consistently deliver a high standard of ecological survey and reporting at a competitive cost. Our clients welcomed our strong emphasis on fast turnaround times and pro-active approach as well as the flexibility to deal with last minute oversights by a third party.”