Emergence Bat Surveys
It is sometimes necessary to undertake Emergence surveys of buildings where bats roost or are thought to roost. Damaging or destroying a bat roost is an absolute offence under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2010. It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly disturb even a single bat whilst it is occupying a place that is used for shelter or protection, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Best practice therefore is to undertake surveys for bats prior to any work being undertaken which may affect the resting places of bats. This legislation applies to both dwelling houses and non-dwelling houses. Work covered by the legislation includes maintenance, timber treatment, development, alterations, insulation etc. If the presence of bats is discovered once work has commenced the works should be stopped immediately. The local Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation should then be notified and surveys undertaken to determine where the bats are roosting, and how to progress with the work without falling foul of the law. In such situations health and safety may be an important consideration where works are incomplete, or demolition is in progress, and may influence how a survey is undertaken.