30 October 2015
You may not have noticed, but – under the cover of darkness – bats are starting to challenge the great crested newt as a developer's number one headache. The UK’s bats are protected from disturbance at all times – and so are their roosts, even when vacant – so if they are found (or even just suspected) they can have significant implications on the costs and programme for a project. Under the stewardship of the Bat Conservation Trust, best practise for assessing impacts on bats in the UK has rapidly evolved over the past few years, leading to a requirement for more thorough surveys and mitigation measures to prevent harm to bat roosts and the habitats they depend on.
One area where we have identified an opportunity for clients to reduce the costs and delays caused by bats is where trees with bat roost potential have been found. We regularly identify trees on sites which bats could use for roosting and it is typically recommended that further nocturnal bat surveys are done to confirm whether they are present or not. However this can be very expensive – particularly if a large number of trees are involved – and they can also only be done during the bat active season (which typically runs from May – September each year).
Therefore we have recently invested to develop our own in-house tree-climbing team, so that we can now offer tree climbing surveys by licensed bat workers. These are a very effective method for confirming whether a suspected feature (usually identified from the ground initially) is in fact suitable for roosting bats or not. Not only can these surveys be done all year round (weather & leaf/ivy cover permitting) but we can cover between 6 - 10 trees per day with just two people. If no suitable features or roosts are found, this can offer significant savings versus doing traditional nocturnal surveys and also delivers immediate results, allowing the trees to be assessed or felled much quicker than usual.
My colleagues Peter Kneen & Barry Clarkson have made a short video to explain a little more about this service, so please take a look. If you want to learn more or are interested in using this service on your project, then just drop us an email using firstname.lastname@example.org and we will call you back to discuss how we can help.
Gavin Ward, Associate Director, Environment, is based in Leicester. Contact him at email@example.com