A private property owner contacted Prime Environment in relation to a planning application to demolish his property and replace it with a new residential building. Uttlesford District Council required a Preliminary Roost Assessment to support the application. The initial survey found that the building was highly suitable for bats, and bat droppings were recorded on the external walls of the property. We were able to provide a report at this stage that got the client through the application, with a condition to undertake dusk emergence surveys and a pre-dawn return survey to confirm the species of bat present and the type of roost.
The dusk and pre-dawn bat surveys demonstrated that the building included a small roost of soprano pipistrelle bats. As bat roosts are legally protected, a European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) was required before works to the building could commence.
The application was compiled and submitted to Natural England by Prime Environment who were the named ecologists on the licence. Mitigation set out within the detailed method statement for the licence included the supervision of a soft strip of all hanging tiles, roof tiles and dormer window frames by a licenced ecologist. Before the soft strip the ecologist gave a tool-box talk to the contractors informing them of the legal protections affecting bats and their responsibilities under the licence.
The soft strip involved the removal of each tile by hand and checking underneath them for bats. Eight bats were found roosting under the tiles during the works and were removed by the ecologist to a temporary roost site as permitted under the licence.
The building is now nearly completed and the integrated bat boxes are being fitted within the facades of the building and rendered to match the overall design of the property.