Bats in Buildings
All British bats are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. It's an offence to deliberately capture, injure or kill them or to deliberately destroy or damage the breeding site or roost or even to obstruct its access. Therefore, bats can be a critical consideration when designing a new build or extension. A roost is protected even if there's no bats there at the time. You may find bats using barns, old buildings or roof spaces which can include new structures in urban areas. The bats may go unnoticed, often roosting in small spaces, cracks and gaps in roofs or even behind fascias, tiles or weatherboards.
In the UK, there are seventeen species of bat. Each bat gives birth once a year, the females tend to gather a communal roost to bring up their young and give birth. This is when they are most likely to be seen using buildings. These roosts are generally vacated by the end of the summer. They hibernate in winter, living on stored body fat.
The planners take a great deal of interest in Bats, and so, depending on the circumstances of the building it can be well worth undertaking a scoping survey at the earliest stage possible to allow for any further surveys and the incorporation of any mitigation measures in the design. Failure to present required information for bats during the planning application may mean that the application is refused, or not even registered in the first place.
Another key reason to get the bat surveyor in early is due to the bats' seasonal nature as previously mentioned. If you need certain types of surveys, such as activity surveys, these can only be done at certain times of the year. So get in there early, don't delay, call the batman (or woman) today!