Ecology experts at Harris Lamb are working with developers to ensure that construction schedules are not disrupted during the core summer bat survey season, which runs May-August.

Dr Holly Smith, who heads up the business’ Environmental team stressed that development schedules could suffer setbacks if the necessary surveys were not completed in the coming months.

With 18 species of bat in the UK currently protected by UK and European law under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to injure, kill, capture or disturb a bat or to damage, destroy or bat roosts; and the team is working closely with clients to ensure that the necessary steps are taken before plans are submitted to local authorities.

Holly said: “Many bats use buildings, trees and other structures for roosting, and as such any building alteration or maintenance work or demolition, tree felling or works to other structures could encounter costly delays if the necessary surveys and actions are not taken to identify their presence.

“Local planning authorities must fully consider a proposed development’s impact upon protected species as they are a ‘material consideration’ in the determination of planning applications. Where there is a reasonable likelihood of bats being impacted upon by a development, surveys must be carried out before a planning application is determined, and we’re making sure that the necessary surveys are carried out to assess whether there is any likelihood of bats being present.

“Surveys to determine the presence of bats are carried out between May and August at dusk and dawn and typically requires a number of survey visits depending on the size and potential of the site. Further to the results, we can then work with clients to advise on the appropriate mitigation actions and apply for a Natural England European protected Species Licence if required” she explained.

For details on the process and to arrange a survey, contact the environmental team at holly.smith@harrislamb.com