Bats are a protected species in the UK. Remember that it is against the law to:
- deliberately capture, injure or kill bats
- damage or destroy a breeding or resting place
- obstruct access to their resting or sheltering places
- possess, sell, control or transport live or dead bats, or parts of them
- intentionally or recklessly disturb a bat while it’s in a structure or place of shelter
Do I need to assess whether or not bats are present?
Whether you need to assess the presence of bats depends on the type of work you intend to carry out. For example, some development work is unlikely to affect bats.
Snowdonia National Park Authority offers a checklist to aid applicants in making this decision. Additionally, the Authority will conduct this checklist internally when receiving your application, so be sure to use accurate information with the checklist.
How do I know if bats are present?
The most apparent sign of bats being present is their droppings which are similar to mouse droppings.
Bats are typically tucked away within the structure of a building, often without you knowing. They can be found under slates and eaves, in wall cavities, gable ends and windowsills or use porches and cellars for roosting.
However, you should not actively seek bats out. It is against the law to intentionally or recklessly disturb bats.
What happens if I think bats are present?
If you think bats are present on your site, you will need to hire the services of a licensed and qualified surveyor. The surveyor will carry out an assessment called a Preliminary Protected Species Assessment (PPSA).
If this assessment confirms that bats are present, you must carry out a more comprehensive report. Again, only a licensed and qualified surveyor can conduct these reports.
This report will confirm:
- which species of bat are present
- how many bats there are
- how the bats are using the site, e.g. building or tree
- how your development may accommodate the bats
Can my development still go ahead if bats are present?
Yes, your development can still go ahead if bats are present. The report or assessment provided by your qualified licensed surveyor will detail ways in which the development can go ahead whilst ensuring the protection of bats. Some methods can include:
- removing slate tiles by hand in the presence of an ecologist
- creating additional roost for bats present on the site
You will also need to apply for a license before starting the development. Natural Resources Wales are responsible for issuing these licenses in Wales.