© Daniel Hargreaves
If a bat roost is present on site and is likely to be affected by the development, appropriate measures will need to be put in place to allow the development to progress. The developer may also need to obtain a licence from the relevant statutory body.
Bat mitigation includes taking measures to avoid or reduce the impacts of the development on bats. This could include altering the timing of certain works so that they are undertaken when bats are either absent or when they are least vulnerable to harm or disturbance. Other common mitigation measures include ensuring that roosts are either retained and protected through the development or are re-instated on a like-for-like basis following the works. It may also be possible to create new roosting opportunities (e.g. bat boxes) to compensate for any roosts lost.
If the mitigation measures would allow the development to progress without any offences being committed, then works can normally proceed without the need for licensing. Examples of works that may not require licensing include re-roofing a building or carrying out minor arboricultural works to a tree that is known to support bats.
If this is not possible, then a development license (known as a European Protected Species License or “EPSL”) will need to be obtained from the relevant statutory body (e.g. Natural England or Natural Resources Wales) once planning permission has been granted. This involves completing a reasoned statement that sets out why the works are required and a method statement that details how the impacts on bats will be minimised. Once the licence is granted, the development can progress providing the measures detailed within the method statement are followed.
Note that in most instances the regulators will require bat surveys to have been undertaken before they will approve or licence the mitigation strategy. See our bat survey page for more information.
Where development affects bats, works can normally proceed providing appropriate measures are put in place.