The Bat Conservation Trust has recently published a new guide: Landscape and Urban Design for Bats and Biodiversity. It presents a range of simple features that a developer, consultant or designer can incorporate into a project with the aim of maximising the biodiversity with a focus on bats.
Modern building designs provide little opportunity for bats, they tend to be well sealed and are generally unsuitable for use by roosting bats. There are a number of features that can be incorporated into buildings that can improve the opportunities for bats while retaining the integrity of the building. Such as Bat Bricks within the building structure or Bat Boxes on surrounding trees.
Some species of bat prefer to roost in trees, finding small crevices, holes or cracks to squeeze in. Planting of appropriate native trees can greatly improve the long term roosting opportunities for local bats and bat boxes provide opportunities in the short term.
Bats are insectivores and landscape design for bat foraging opportunities involves improving the population and variety of nocturnal flying insects. Landscape design focusing on improving opportunities for foraging bats can indirectly improve the local wildlife.
Ideal foraging habitat for bats should include a variety of flowering plants with flowering periods staggered throughout the year. Green roofs seeded with wild flowers are an example of improved foraging opportunities and can also improve the buildings insulation.
The main focus when designing landscapes for commuting bats is appropriate lighting. Most bat species are sensitive to light levels and will avoid well lit areas. The provision of linear features, such as hedgerows, planted trees or dark corridors are ideal.
Landscape design focusing on bats can greatly improve local wildlife and some projects can be awarded credits for ecological features in BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes assessment. Careful planning during the design stages can prevent the need for expensive mitigation and survey works further down the line.
UES Ltd has several years’ experience in ecological project management and has guided many large capital infra-structure schemes. UES Ltd is an expert in Landscape design focusing on protected species and ecological features.