English Nature (now Natural England) guidelines for bat mitigation procedures with respect to development have now been published.
This accumulated information draws from various statutory (Defra, Local Planning Authorities, etc) and non-statutory (ecological consultants, bat groups, etc) sources. In view of their declining status both across Europe and in Britain, all species of bats have been listed on Annex IV of the EC 92/43/EEC "the Habitats Directive". The Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations 1994 which implements this directive make it an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb, keep, transport or sell a bat (or other European Protected Species) or to damage or destroy the breeding or resting site of such an animal.
Ecosulis ltd specialises in informing developers and planning officials regarding the potential presence of bats at a site. We can also offer site-specific advice and assist with the preparation of licences and assessments.
It is the developer's responsibility to produce a mitigation strategy and thus apply for a Defra licence, normally through a suitable ecological consultant, should they consider that their proposed work is likely to result in an offence under regulation 39 of the 1994 Regulations.
For a licence to be granted, Natural England must be assured that three tests specified in the Habitats Directive and the 1994 Regulations have been met. The activity in question should satisfy:
Reg 44(2)(e)"in the interests of public health and public safety"
Reg 44(3)(a)"no satisfactory alternative"
Reg 44(3)(b)"not detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range"
The first two conditions are considered by information supplied by the Local Planning Authority and Natural England is consulted with regard to the third test. If you require any additional information relating to the protection of bats or require assistance developing a mitigation strategy please contact us to discuss further.