EPS Licensing for Bats
Bats are a European Protected Species, which means that they are strongly protected by UK law, through the Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 . The protection also includes bat roosts, even those that are not in current use (e.g. if bats use a particular structure in the winter months for hibernation, but not in the summer, it is protected all year round).
This means that if any development works are proposed which will result in significant disturbance to a bat roost, its destruction or even actions such as blocking off access to the roost, this can only be done if a licence has been granted for the work by Natural England.
In order to obtain a licence, you need a licensed and experienced bat ecologist to undertake survey work (likely to be a combination of visual assessment, emergence survey and/or remote monitoring) and agree suitable mitigation with the client and the architect before applying for the licence. CEC’s bat ecologists are licensed and experienced and can apply for a European Protected Species Licence for you.
Suitable mitigation may consist of a variety of actions (which need to be decided on a case specific basis), that may include: retaining access for bats into the roost, creating new roosting opportunities – allowing access/space within a roof void or bat boxes, sensitive timing of works, supervision of works by a bat ecologist.
Natural England is the statutory agency that will determine the licence application, making its decision within 30 working days of their receipt of the application. Once you have the licence, there will usually be a requirement for one of our licensed bat ecologists to visit the site periodically during works – maybe to supervise some aspects of the work such as removing ridge tiles where bats may be present and to monitor the site after work is complete to see if bats are using the mitigation.