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Guidance on encountering Bats, a protected species, during the development process including regulations, requirements and actions.
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Overview

The Bat Conservation Trust Helpline 0845 1300 228 www.bats.org.uk

Did you know! Bats are one of the most frequently encountered wild animals in development!

Wales is home to 16 species of bat occupying a number of habitat, including occasional, maternity and hibernation sites known as a roost. Of these 16 species of bat, up to 10 are regularly recorded in the Bridgend area. Bats are afforded protection under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), as well as under Schedule 2 of the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010 (as amended), and as such causing damage to a bat roost or killing, injuring or disturbing bats constitutes a criminal offence.

Why does the local authority need a survey to be submitted for planning?

National planning policy states that it is essential that the presence or otherwise of a protected species and the extent that it may be affected by a proposed development is established before any planning permission is granted. Otherwise all relevant material considerations may not be addressed in making the decision.

This means that local authority must have enough information to rule out any impact of the development on a protected species (in this case bats) before it can make its decision. As with other surveys requirements for planning, it is the applicant’s responsibility to provide this information.

Bats roost in numerous locations including buildings, structures, trees and woodland. It is vital to avoid damaging or disturbing a roost during and after development

Do I need to undertake a survey?

Not always. Not all buildings have bats, but we don’t know where all the bats are! Bats like many animals prefer to use certain buildings close / linked to habitats which they like. We use guidance from the Bat Conservation Trust’s Good Practice Guidelines (2012) to help us identify which developments are most likely to encounter bats.

Please note that when it is considered that it is not reasonable to request a survey it doesn’t mean that bats will not be present, if bats are found during development it is essential to remember that they are still a protected species and it is a criminal offence to disturb them. Please refer to the bat warning for further information.

Did you know! Due to continued loss of habitat bats have had to take residence in many of our buildings or trees in our gardens in order to survive. Often you will not know that they are there! But don’t worry they won’t do any harm.

The following information is aimed at helping you identify whether bats could be affected by your development in which case you may need a bat survey to accompany your application.

GUIDANCE NOTE 1:

If your development proposals involve any of the following activities the Council will require a bat survey carried out by a suitably experienced and qualified ecologist.

  • Conversion, modification, demolition or removal of any building (including derelict buildings) which are:
    • Agricultural Buildings (e.g. farmhouses, barns and outbuildings) of traditional brick or stone construction and/or with exposed wooden beams;
    • Buildings with weather boarding and/or hanging tiles that are within 200m of woodland and/or water;
    • Pre-1960 detached buildings and structures within 200m of woodland and/or water;
    • Pre-1914 buildings within 400m of woodland and/or water;
    • Pre-1914 buildings with gable ends and/or slate roofs, regardless of location;
    • Located within, or immediately adjacent to woodland and/or immediately adjacent to water;
    • Dutch barns or livestock buildings with a single skin roof and board-and-gap or Yorkshire boarding if, following a preliminary roost assessment the site appears to be particularly suited to bats.
  • Development affecting built structures:
    • Tunnels, mines, kilns, ice-houses, adits, military fortifications, air-raid shelters, cellars and similar underground ducts and structures, unused industrial chimneys that are unlined and of brick/stone construction
    • Bridge structures, aqueducts and viaducts (especially over water and wet ground)
  • Lighting of:
    • Churches, listed buildings, green space (e.g. sports pitches) within 50m of woodland, field hedgerows or lines of trees with connectivity to woodland or water
    • Any building meeting the criteria listed above
  • Felling, removal or lopping of:-
    • Woodland
    • Field hedgerows and/or lines of trees with connectivity to woodland or water bodies
    • Old and veteran trees that are more than 100 years old
    • Mature trees with obvious holes, cracks, cavities or which are covered with mature ivy (including large dead trees)
  • Proposals affecting water bodies
    • In or within 200m of rivers, streams, canals, lakes, reedbeds or other aquatic habitats
  • Proposals located in or immediately adjacent to
    • Quarries or gravel pits
    • Natural cliff faces and rock outcrops with crevices or caves and swallets ( sink-holes)
  • Proposals for wind farm developments of multiple wind turbines and single wind turbines (depending on size and location), proposals for small domestic turbines will need to be dealt with on a site by site basis
  • All proposals in sites where bats are known to be present

If your development meets any of the criteria in the trigger list above please see Guidance sheet B9 Ecological survey requirements for further guidance on bat surveys.

Whether or not your development requires a survey please see the new benefits section below. All development provides an opportunity to enhance biodiversity and by incorporating simple measures into the development you can help contribute to the population and maybe you will have some surprising benefits of encouraging these mammals into your gardens.

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