Cambridge Ecology comprises licensed (Protected Species licence holders) and qualified staff and associates providing ecological services to the public and private sector in various industries throughout the UK and overseas.
Cambridge Ecology has experience of the diverse range of survey techniques necessary for mammals in the UK, using standardised operating procedures to ensure that consistent, cost effective, high standards are maintained that meet client’s needs within budget and on time.
Legislation and Policy
All bats are fully protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), through inclusion in Schedule 5 and under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, which consolidates all the various amendments made to the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 in respect of England and Wales. The 1994 Regulations transposed Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (EC Habitats Directive) into national law.
Taken together, these legislative instruments make it illegal to carry out the following activities:
• Deliberately or recklessly capture or kill bats;
• Deliberately or recklessly disturb bats;
• Damage or destroy a bat breeding site or resting place; and
• Keep, transport, sell or exchange, or offer for sale or exchange, any live or dead bat, or any part of, or anything derived from a bat.
UK planning policy under the terms of Planning Policy Statement 9 (PPS 9) sets out the Government’s national policies on different aspects of planning in England that regional planning bodies and local planning authorities (LPAs) are expected to consider.
Key components of this policy include:
• Planning decisions should be based on up-to-date information (e.g. surveys) about the environmental characteristics of their areas;
• Planning decisions should aim to maintain, enhance, restore or add to biodiversity interests. In taking decisions LPAs should ensure that appropriate emphasis is attached to designated sites, protected species, and to biodiversity interests within the wider environment;
• The aim of planning decisions should be to prevent harm to biodiversity interests.
• It also emphasis’s that development proposals provide many opportunities for building-in beneficial biodiversity features as part of good design and that when considering proposals, LPAs should maximise such opportunities in and around developments.
PPS 9 requires that LPA’s take steps to promote the conservation of habitats and species of ‘principal importance’ (i.e. BAP habitats and species) through their planning function.
Therefore developments on sites where bats or their roosts may be present need to be mindful of this legislation and policy.
Cambridge Ecology has extensive experience in surveying for bats using specific survey techniques to assess population sizes, status of roosts and the extent of foraging areas. The data collected is used to devise appropriate mitigation strategies.
If there is a likelihood of disturbing roosting bats bat surveys must be carried out by licensed surveyors. Cambridge Ecology has a wide range of skills required in this specialist area. Survey methods for bats consist of two stages, which are relevant to both trees and buildings:
• Stage 1 Surveys – these surveys involve an evaluation of the features of a tree or structure of a building to determine their suitability for roosting bats. These surveys can be carried out at any time of year, though if evidence of roosting bats or features suitable for roosting bats are recorded or identified lead to the recommendation for Stage 2 surveys.
• Stage 2 Surveys – involve a detailed assessment of the status of a roost site or potential roost site. If the Stage 1 survey confirms the presence of a bat roost then Phase 2 surveys will be required to provide sufficient information to support a Natural England development licence; if the development proposals are likely to affect the bats and/or roost site. Stage 2 surveys (such as dawn and dusk activity surveys) will usually involve the use of bat detectors to determine the type of species and number of individuals present within a roost. These surveys are carried out between late May and early September.
Habitat Creation and Mitigation
• Mitigation strategies and method statements to inform development licence applications to ensure our clients remain complaint with the relevant legislation. Developments that may result in the loss of bat roost or the disturbance of bats requires a development licence.
• Creation of new bespoke lofts including features to support bat roosts.
• Provision of bat boxes in trees and on buildings.
• Construction of dedicated bat roosts.