Mitigating for bats in buildings

Following bat surveys, a site licence for bats (European Protected Species Licence) from Natural England is often required before development works can take place.

Where bats are affected by building works, a licenced mitigation strategy must be provided. This can include many different options such as special bat lofts’ bat boxes and access tiles and even stand-alone buildings bat-cotes.

The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and Exeter University have recently published a study looking at what does and doesn’t work effectively.[1] Its conclusions were that:

  • Retaining existing bat roosts as far as possible “in situ” the development, even if modified, has the best outcome for bats, particularly when associated with re-roofing works;
  • Special ‘bat lofts’ within buildings worked better than bat boxes;
  • Bats may take several years to colonise newly built roosts, irrespective of bat lofts of boxes.

We are currently providing mitigation advice for a building conversion at Barnham Broom, which includes a brown long-eared bat maternity roost. The clients set-a-aside part of the barn to create a new roost area exclusively for bats. When we visited 1-year post-construction, there were bat droppings and an adult brown long-eared bat already using the ‘bat loft’. Our client, Julie Eagle was delighted “I am thrilled bats are continuing to use our site, and we want to encourage all wildlife here.”

Please contact us to discuss your project, and how best to incorporate bat mitigation strategies and licensing into your development.

[1] https://www.cieem.net/bat-mitigation-strategies-research-project

Brown long-eared bat