Bat Surveyors in Wokingham, Bracknell and Slough
If you’re in Wokingham and planning to convert or demolish a building, chances are you’ll need a bat survey.
Whether your development is in Wokingham itself, in Slough or Bracknell, or out in the countryside, if there’s a ‘reasonable likelihood’ that bats are present, a survey is your only option if you want to be granted planning permission.
When it comes to what constitutes a ‘reasonable likelihood’ there are several things you need to consider. For instance, if your development is close to the Emm Brook or any other body of water, you’ll need a survey. This is because bats commonly forage the large numbers of insects that hover over the water. Older buildings built before 1914, and especially those with slate roofs and hanging tiles also readily make bat roosts, as the bats can squeeze through small gaps and into the warm and dry roof cavity.
These examples are by no means exhaustive. So, if you’re in any doubt, you should contact your local authority and ask their advice. Better to know about any survey requirements sooner rather than later.
Wokingham, Planning and Bats
There are 18 species of bat native to the UK, of which 14 are found in Berkshire. And, of those, you’re most likely to encounter a pipistrelle, thanks to their relatively high numbers and willingness to roost in urban centres like Wokingham, or Maidenhead.
Wokingham Borough Council is eager to preserve and enhance biodiversity within the borough; and the most recent Biodiversity Action Plan makes specific reference to protecting and creating new habitats in grasslands, wetlands, and heathlands. Of course, this will have implications for your development as Planners will expect your project, at the very least, not to cause harm to specific habitats without sufficient mitigating or compensatory in place. If you fail to demonstrate this, especially where bats are concerned as they are a protected species, your planning application will be refused.
Balancing development with protecting bat habitats in West Berks
There is a housing shortage in Wokingham. As a result, the local authority has made growing the housing stock a priority, aiming to deliver around 10,000 new homes across several major developments.
Naturally, these large developments indicate that the local authority is not averse to granting planning permission. However, that decision will be on the condition that developers and homeowners alike comply with the legal obligations towards protected species like bats.
These laws exist to reverse the dramatic decline in wildlife that we’ve seen across the UK in recent decades. The blame for this can largely be laid on habitat destruction in the pursuit of housebuilding and infrastructure development. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this legislation does work in our collective favour by adding a good deal of subjective and objective value to land and property.
As a rule, well cared for habitats allows wildlife to thrive. This in turn makes an area an attractive place to live and work. Investment from business follows, creating more jobs. More jobs and opportunity mean more wealth and prosperity, and so, in theory, the cycle continues.
Therefore, showing the planning Case Officer how you’re going to manage the risk your development poses to bats in your planning application will be a critical factor in determining whether or not you achieve planning consent.
Preliminary bat roost assessment survey – 100% success rate at planning
Ultimately, if you or the local authority determine that bats are likely to be adversely affected by your development, you’re going to need a phase 1 bat survey (also known as a preliminary roost assessment or walkover bat survey).
The good news is, a licenced bat surveyor can do a walkover survey at any time of the year and the process is relatively straightforward. In short, they’ll come to your site and examine it see if any bats are roosting or if there are any suitable habitats.
If your site is bat-free and any potential habitats are unlikely to play host to a bat roost, the bat surveyor’s report and advice will usually be enough to satisfy your planning Case Officer. However, if bats are found or your site is likely to make an excellent roost, the local authority will request further surveys. This will probably take the form of a Phase 2 emergence survey (you might have heard this called a bat emergence survey or dusk and dawn bat survey).
Bat surveys can feel like an unexpected or even unnecessary expense. However, failing to have a survey carried out when required opens you up to criminal prosecution that can result in severe sanctions. If found guilty of harming bats or otherwise disturbing their habitats without planning consent, you can expect a fine at the very least. In extreme cases, the Judge can impose a custodial sentence.
There really isn’t any need to take this risk either. As of 2021, our reports and advice have helped somewhere in the region of 15,000 people get planning permission for their developments.
In 16 years, we’re yet to encounter a bat problem we can’t solve and have achieved a 100% success rate at planning. In fact, we’ve helped hundreds of clients in and around Wokingham alone secure planning consent.
We know that we’ll be able to do the same for you, but if you heed our advice and we can’t, we’ll give you your money back – no questions or quibbles.
Arbtech’s team of licenced bat surveyors
The bat surveyor that comes to your site will be a specialist in securing planning permission for clients. Fay, Nicole, Mel, Josephine, Natalie, Craig or Joe will probably be deployed to your site.
They’re the best around, and every single one of our licenced bat specialists is educated to bachelors or masters level. They’ll have also completed and passed our rigorous in-house training program that exposes them to an enormous variety of sites.
Best of all, most of our team of 30+ work remotely, and they’re based all around the country. So, you can be sure that your preliminary bat roost assessment will be carried out by someone with years of local knowledge and experience. This means your surveyor will have detailed knowledge of the local ecology, the interest groups that object to planning applications, and the planning policies used by Wokingham council.
We know that bat surveys can be a major snag for any development, so we want to make sure that your project keeps moving. With this in mind, you’ll usually receive your bat report and advice within a few days at most. Or if you’re on a really tight timeline, you can invest in a next working day report.
Phase two surveys can only be carried out between May and September, but even then, we’ll be sure to fit you in at a time that’s convenient for you.
Together, this means you’ll get the bat assessment report and advice you need to secure planning permission, fast.
Get a bat survey in Wokingham with comprehensive advice you can trust
If you want your bat survey to be managed by a local specialist and contain all the advice you need to get planning permission (or your money back), choose Arbtech.
Andrews, C. 2013 Bats in Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire. [Online]. Available from: http://www.berksbats.org.uk/bats-in-berks-and-south-bucks [Accessed 26 January 2021].
Bale, B. 2020. Stars of the night sky. [Online]. Available from: https://www.berksandbuckslife.co.uk/ [Accessed 26 January 2021]
Wokingham Borough Council. 2014. Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-2024. [Online]. Available from: https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/ [Accessed 26 January 2021]
Wokingham Borough Council. N.D. Overview of major developments. [Online]. Available from: https://www.wokingham.gov.uk/ [Accessed 26 January 2021]