Frequently Asked Questions
Please find below a list of frequently asked questions. If you have a question that does not appear here feel free to head over to the contact page and get in touch.
If you are carrying out works that could disrupt or harm bats and your local planning authority has asked for a bat survey, then you will need to carry out a survey. Typical projects that we are asked to supply bat surveys for are barn conversions, demolition, extensions, and tree removal.
You require a bat survey because all 18 protected species of bats living and breeding in the UK are fully protected by law, and the works you are planning could potentially disturb them. Statutes protecting bat species situated across the UK include the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2019.
Various types of proposed development works could potentially affect bats present on the site. It could be argued that any works would prompt the need to undertake a bat survey. However, in terms of tangible examples, development works that could impact bats include extension, conversion, modification or demolition works, road building and maintenance, and hedgerow or tree removal.
In summary, almost any development proposal could be subject to the presence of bats that may be able to obstruct access points for the development works, from independent barn conversions to large-scale commercial projects. As a result, the need for effective bat surveys undertaken by qualified bat surveyors would act as a necessary cautionary measure to appease relevant legislation, avoid disturbing bats and support roosting bats.
Because bats move around frequently, bat surveys are only valid for a certain amount of time. Each planning authority will have different time frames but all bat surveys will be valid for at least 12 months, and usually up to around 24 months.
Although planning consent may, in rare circumstances, be granted without a bat survey, it would be wise to arrange this type of assessment to minimise costly delays and avoid breaching UK law by eliminating the reasonable likelihood of disturbing bats. Based on these laws, it would be strongly advisable to arrange bat activity surveys as soon as you identify a bat found on the site, or evidence of bats that indicate a reasonable likelihood of the presence of bats on or near to the site. If, instead, you choose to defy habitats regulations, disturb a bat roost or even go as far as to intentionally kill roosting bats, the consequences of your actions will be severe.
Generally speaking, the season to conduct an emergence survey runs from May to Sept. Ideally, surveys will be conducted between mid-May and the end of August, although many planning authorities will accept 'sub-optimal' surveys conducted outside of these months, for example in April and Sept/Oct, if the weather conditions are suitable.
The answer is a definitive no! Bats are beneficial to humans in several important ways:-
-They consume night flying insects
-They are indicators of air quality and ecological health
Bats do not attack people. They may fly alarmingly near in pursuit of a mosquito, giving the appearance of swooping to attack. However, there is one disease carried by bats that may be transmitted to humans. A small number of bats, 6 in the last 15 years, have been found to carry a virus related to Rabies, European Bat Lyssavirus (EBLV), which comes in two varieties. Rabies is a viral infection that is transmitted to humans through a bite, or contact with membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth. It travels up the nerves, eventually infecting the brain and is almost always fatal. The virus cannot enter through unbroken skin and infection is only therefore spread through contact. People in other European countries who have been bitten by bats and who have tested positive for EBLV, have been given post exposure treatment and none of them have developed the infection. The six bats that have been found to have been infected have all been Daubenton’s bats, and were infected with EBLV2.
EBLV has not been found in pipistrelles or brown long eared bats, the bats most commonly found in buildings. It highly unlikely therefore that someone could be infected with EBLV, but good practice is to always wear gloves when handling bats. Should a bat fly into a property and need to be removed you should put on bite proof gloves. An alternative method of catching the bat would be to put a small box or margarine tub over the bat when it has landed. A thin sheet of card can then be slide under the box so that they bat is trapped inside. Alternatively a cloth can but put over the bat and used to hold the bat so it can be picked up. The bat can then be taken outside to be released from a sheltered spot such as a window sill or tree trunk, away from the reach of children, cats or dogs. Should an injured bat be found it should be trapped as above and the Batline national number, 0845 1300 228, telephoned so that a registered bat worker can help deal with the bat.
A small number of bats do carry the rabies related EBLV. However, the incidence of rabies in bats is very low. More than 6000 bats have been tested in the past 15 years, of these only 6 have tested positive for EBLV. So the likelihood of getting rabies from a bat is very small.
If you suspect exposure to the rabies virus, contact a health professional immediately. The Health Protection Agency's Centre for Infections can be contacted during office hours on 020 8327 6204, or out of hours on 020 8200 6868. Alternatively the Bat Conservation Trust will be able to help with collecting a bat and contacting the relevant authorities, contacted on 0845 1300 228.
If you would like to book a bat survey or find out more about a particular service, then please fill in the contact form on the contact page. Your message will be dealt with promptly. Alternatively, check out the other contact information that appears on the page.