Need a bat survey in Hertfordshire?

Whenever bats are likely to impact your land or property development, a bat survey will be needed to help decide on the next steps to take.

We can help with that!

If you need a quote, just fill in the short form here and a bat surveyor from our network will be in touch with a quote.

Get Your FREE Quote

Lead form

Step 1 of 3

Where shall we send your free quote to?

Get a fast quote (usually within 24 hours) from a trusted and reliable expert
We find the local experts you need, so you don't have to
Get quotes in your inbox completely free, with no-obligation

Bat survey Hertfordshire

The large expanses of countryside in Hertfordshire offer suitable habitat for many wildlife species, including European protected species such as bats. As bats are highly protected by law, a bat survey carried out by a licensed ecologist will be needed before development projects that could impact bats will be permitted. Finding bats doesn’t mean that your scheme can’t proceed, but you may need to follow guidance and carry out bat mitigation measures first.

A bluebell wood in Hertfordshire.

Situated in the East of England, Hertfordshire is one of the home counties and within easy reach of London. It borders Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex and Buckinghamshire. The largest populated areas are Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford and Stevenage, while more rurally, it hosts chalk rivers, medieval buildings, Roman remains and some fine stately homes including Hatfield House and Knebworth House.

Development in Hertfordshire

The South West Hertfordshire 2050 joint strategic plan aims to protect the natural world, enhance green spaces and integrate nature into all new development. Priorities are to enhance existing biodiversity and ecological networks and value the historic environment. However, the strategy also wants to make Hertfordshire a place that welcomes investment, designs attractive places and builds sustainable homes that provide a great quality of life. While Hertfordshire leads the way in scientific research, film, TV and creative media, it also aims to encourage new sectors to create more opportunities, along with new workspaces for businesses to grow.

Bat species in Hertfordshire

There are 10 bat species commonly found in the county: the common pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus), soprano pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus pygmaeus), Nathusius’ pipistrelle bat (Pipistrellus nathusii), Barbastelle bat (Barbastella barbastellus), brown long-eared bat (Plecotus auritus), Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii), Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri), Natterer’s bat (Myotis nattereri), Noctule bat (Nyctalus noctula) and Serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus). Although rare in Hertfordshire, there have also been reports of Brandt’s bat (Myotis brandtii) and whiskered bat (Myotis mystacinus).

Protection for bats

UK bats are one of several listed protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Bat groups offer advice to developers wanting to meet the requirements involving bats. The Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) protects all UK species of bats, while the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Bat Group supports local bats: it reports declining bat populations in Hertfordshire over the last 50 years due to fewer potential roosting sites and a lack of knowledge about the correct procedure for anyone encountering bats. The BCT aims to promote public awareness of bats and enforce advice from Natural England about how to deal with bats correctly.

A noctule bat.

The bat surveying process

A bat survey can be prompted by bat sightings or as a result of a prior Preliminary Ecological Appraisal (PEA) / Extended Phase 1 Habitat Survey. If evidence of bats is proved, a preliminary roost assessment will be needed as part of the process to achieve planning consent from the local council.

Preliminary roost assessments (PRAs)

This involves a desktop study and a physical inspection when bat ecologists visit the site to look for evidence of the presence of bats. The bat survey involves an inspection of trees and buildings, searching for bat droppings, feeding remains, bat carcasses, and features that would provide potential roosting opportunities. If there is evidence of bats or potential roosting bats, bat ecologists must assess whether the bats would be disturbed by the development proposals. If the PRA finds a likely absence of bats, or that the proposed works will not affect bats, a recommendation can be made to the local planning authority that the scheme can proceed. If bats are present and will be disturbed by development plans, further surveys are needed.

Bat emergence and re-entry surveys

Also known as a bat emergence survey or bat activity survey, this involves qualified ecologists carrying out an internal and external inspection of the property and monitoring potential entry and exit points for bats at dusk and dawn on several occasions. The bat survey process involves advanced survey tools that will monitor bat calls to identify different species of bats and calculate the bat population. The bat survey report will recommend suitable mitigation measures to the local planning authority to support a planning application; for instance, installing bat boxes or relocating bats.

While preliminary roost assessments and bat emergence and re-entry surveys will enable you to secure planning consent, if you need to move or disturb bats, a European Protected Species License may be required. If you need a bat mitigation class licence as part of your application for planning permission, these are issued by Natural England and Natural Resources Wales.

Bat surveys in the Hertfordshire area

A bat survey or an ecology survey may be required for land development schemes as well as property development projects to satisfy the local planning authority.

To seek specialist advice, the first step is to engage a firm that employs fully licensed ecologists who are experienced in conducting bat surveys according to best practice for the local council. This should reassure you that they will offer expert advice about the mitigation strategy necessary to achieve success with your planning permission application.

It is important to consider the timing of your bat surveys: while PRAs can be carried out at any time of year, bat emergence surveys can only take place between April and October, however, the summer months of May to September are preferred.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

thirteen + 8 =

Latest from Blog