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Bats and their roosts are legally protected. Scarborough Nixon Associates Ltd can provide robust surveys using the latest equipment, practical mitigation strategies and reports which will satisfy planning authorities.


Studies have shown that populations of bat species in both Britain and continental Europe have seriously declined in recent times as the result of the reduction in habitats providing their insect food and the disturbance to, exclusion from, or total loss of their roosting and hibernation sites. For this reason, in England, Scotland and Wales, all bats are strictly protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (and as amended); in England and Wales this legislation has been amended and strengthened by the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act 2000. Bats are also protected by European legislation; the EC Habitats Directive is transposed into UK law by The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 – often referred to as 'The Habitat Regs'. Taken together, all this legislation makes it an offence to:

  • Deliberately capture (or take), injure or kill a bat 
  • Intentionally or recklessly disturb a group of bats where the disturbance is likely to significantly affect the ability of the animals to survive, breed, or nurture their young or likely to significantly affect the local distribution or abundance of the species whether in a roost or not
  • Damage or destroy the breeding or resting place of a bat 
  • Possess a bat (alive or dead) or any part of a bat 
  • Intentionally or recklessly obstruct access to a bat roost 
  • Sell (or offer for sale) or exchange bats (alive or dead) or parts of bats 

A bat roost is defined as being ‘any structure or place that is used for shelter or protection', and since bats regularly move between roosting sites throughout the year, a roost retains such designation whether or not bats are present at the time.

The team includes ecologists who hold relevant Natural England licences and specialise in survey and mitigation work relating to bats. This includes:

  • Survey and assessment of built structures such as barns and outbuildings, residential dwellings, bridges, and culverts
  • Survey and assessment of trees in connection with arboricultural work
  • Activity surveys using Pettersson time expansion detectors as well as longer term monitoring using Anabat and Songmeter SM2 remote recorders. This includes transect survey work, dawn re-entry surveys and evening emergence surveys
  • Surveys can be supplemented by various capture methods including hand net, harp trapping and mist netting by appropriately licensed ecologists
  • Securing Natural England European Protected Species (EPS) licences in connection with developments which affect bats. This includes the preparation and implementation of robust mitigation strategies and monitoring programmes

The team has particular expertise in undertaking bat surveys in connection with proposed wind turbine sites. We can form teams of experienced ecologists to cover large sites and also employ the latest recording techniques such as the Anabat and Songmeter SM2 systems to provide quality, robust survey data for input into Environmental Impact Assessments. Sound analysis and sonograms are provided as a standard part of our bat activity reports.

We also regularly undertake bat surveys in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and Cambridgeshire in connection with barn conversions and other developments. Our ecologists hold appropriate Natural England licences and work in accordance with Natural England and Bat Conservation Trust survey and good practice guidelines. We have a proven track record of securing EPS licences.