Bat Surveys – Arbor Ecology

UK bats and their roosts are protected under the following National and European legislation:

  • Conservation (Natural habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 as amended
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended
  • The Nature Conservation (Scotland) act 2004

Under the above legislation it is an offence to:

  • deliberately or recklessly: capture, injure or kill a bat;
  • disturb bats;
  • obstruct access to a bat roost;
  • damage or destroy a roosting place (even if bats are not occupying the roost at the time); or
  • possess or advertise, sell or exchange a live or dead bat or part of a bat.

Our SNH Licensed Bat Workers are not only Ecologists but Arborists as well, this gives us unrivalled experience when looking for bats in trees. We can prepare full written bat surveys, either Phase 1 ground based habitat surveys or Phase 2 climbed aerial inspections (BS 8596:2015 Surveying for Bats in Trees and Woodland, Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists – Good Practice Guidelines (3rd Edition, Collins 2016). Bat Tree Habitat Key (Andrews 2013), coupled with entry/emergence watches for nearby built structures. Our extensive arboricultural knowledge of Potential Roosting Features (PRF) in trees allows us to provide a complete bat surveying, reporting and recommendations service.  Where bats are found we can help with mitigation/compensation strategies, including Species Protection Plans and License application to SNH.

We are at the forefront of industry best practice, preferring Aerial Close Visual Inspection (Phase 2) Bat Surveys over activity surveys as a more reliable way of identifying bat roosts in trees. Our ecologists use the latest equipment and climbing techniques to access all parts of the tree which may be in an unsound condition, including Mobile Elevated Work Platforms and Drones with Thermal imaging.

The main advantage of our approach as Arbor Ecologists is that when we have inspected a tree with potential bat roost features and found no bats to be present (where appropriate) we can immediately fell the tree or remove the habitat features using chainsaws, neutralising the tree and preventing their use by bats (or other protected species) in the future. This means that there is no need for a further visit by a licensed bat worker at the time of felling. Being Arbor Ecologists we are able to compensate for the loss of PRF by creating roosting features in nearby trees using chainsaw carving techniques, which saves costs on unsightly bat boxes and reduces environmental impact. Our protected species surveyors are also able to carry out an Arboricultural Constraints Tree Report to BS5837:2012 at the same time as a Phase 1 Ground Based Survey. Having the same team perform both roles saves our clients money and more importantly time – on large developments these savings can be significant. If you need a bat survey, protected species survey or ecology survey please contact us now.

Bat surveys in Scotland.
Ecologist David White points out a bat roost.