Bat populations have declined steeply across the UK and Europe. As a result, they are protected under domestic and European law. Bats are a European Protected Species, with legislation in place that makes it illegal to undertake any development which may harm or destroy bats and/or their habitat. Bats are amongst some of the species afforded the highest level of legal protection in the UK.

Do you require help with a planning application and have been asked for a bat survey?

Our specialist bat ecologists at OpenSpace have the necessary disturbance licences, skills and experience to conduct all aspects of a bat survey. To reduce project delays it is best to carry out a bat survey at the earliest possible stage of your development. This will establish if there are bats or evidence of bats on site.

Our project experience ranges from domestic extensions and barn conversions, to commercial work including large scale housing developments, wind farm construction / monitoring and other civil engineering projects. OpenSpace can undertake the following:

  • Preliminary Roost Assessment for structures/buildings
  • Presence/Absence: emergence/re-entry surveys for all roost types
  • Winter Hibernation surveys
  • Preliminary Ground Level Roost Assessment for trees
  • Elevated Potential Roost Feature Inspection for trees
  • Roost Characterisation survey (if bats are found/expected)
  • Bat Activity Surveys: Transect Surveys / Static/Automated Surveys
  • Habitat GIS mapping and acoustic data analysis
  • Mitigation planning and implementation

Our clients include developers, individual builders, construction companies, civil engineering companies, utility companies, housing associations, statutory bodies (Natural England, SNH, Forestry Commission), local authorities, conservation organisations (Wildlife Trusts, RSPB, National Trust), planning consultants, architects, landscape architects, and private individuals.

A bat survey may involve several stages due to the ecology and behaviour of the species. The first stage is a preliminary roost assessment to identify any potential roost features (trees/structures). This may be followed by presence/absence (dusk emergence and/or dawn re-entry) surveys. This enables us to appropriately assess any impacts and provide mitigation to satisfy statutory consultation.

Where potential is identified our expertise enables us to seek the most efficient survey methodology and provide straightforward solutions whilst minimising commercial risk.

We have comprehensive knowledge of the planning process and will ensure a thorough survey and proportionate mitigation. Whilst we endeavour to avoid the onerous European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licensing procedure, if one is unavoidable then we can assist you in the application process. We will ensure there is minimal fuss, providing effective mitigation necessary for Natural England to issue the licence.

Furthermore, our ecological consultants are registered to apply for Low Impact Bat Class Licence where appropriate.

Our specialist team at OpenSpace will be happy to help should you have any bat related query. You can contact us on 01228 711841 or email

Updated April 2017