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04 Jul Conservation of Bats

Why consider protected species during land use planning processes?

The conservation of bats within the built environment is reliant on the delivery of a number of factors:

  • the provision of roosting opportunities;
  • the availability of foraging and commuting habitat; and
  • the appropriate management / protection of existing roosts and areas.

For these factors to be delivered, development proposals must have as much information as possible before applications are given planning permission.

Legal protection

Legislation dictates that any structures or place which a bats use for shelter or protection are protected from damage or destruction whether occupied or not. This legislation has been incorporated into planning policies. This means that planning authorities have a legal obligation to consider whether bats are likely to be affected by a proposed development.

How does this relate to day to day planning?

  • If a bat survey has not already been undertaken to determine the potential for bats on site, and or the presence of bats:
    • The authority should request that the developers commission an appropriate survey 
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that development is likely to affect bat foraging and/or commuting habitat:
    • Linear features such as tree lines should be retained, and compensatory planting should be considered wherever possible.
  • If a bat survey demonstrates that bats and/or a known roost are likely to be affected by the proposed development and planning permission is to be granted:
    • A condition should be placed on the decision notice requiring the developer to apply for, and obtain, a European Protected Species Licence before work commences.
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