Bat Surveys in Cheshire – 16 years, 100% success at planning
If you’re planning a development in Cheshire, you really should consider a bat survey.
No matter where your site is, whether it’s in a built-up part of Chester or Crewe, or out in the countryside there’s always the possibility that bats are nearby. If they are, and you’re seeking to develop land or buildings, you need to take steps to protect them and preserve their habitats.
Cheshire’s bats and their habitats
Cheshire is a haven for bats.
The canals and waterways of the River Bollin that flow through and around Macclesfield support a diverse range of insects that bats rely on for food. Similarly, the Victorian terraces that sprung up to support the thriving silk industry in Stockport provide a warm and safe haven for bats under their slate roofs.
This means that bats are going to be a serious consideration for any planning Case Officer who looks at your application. Especially as the Common pipistrelle and Serotine bats are both protected and feature on the species list of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan. Dry stone walls are also considered to be local priority habitats in Cheshire. A common architectural feature in the region; that can be critical navigational landmarks for any bats that roost nearby.
The various local authorities in Cheshire are eager to promote biodiversity. As a result, local Planners will analyse your planning application and look for evidence that your project contributes towards that aim. Of course, sometimes this isn’t possible. If this is the case with your development, they’ll check to see that it doesn’t do harm to bats or their habitats. If it does, planning permission being refused is the likely outcome unless you’re able to demonstrate comprehensive mitigation and/or compensation.
Bats are hardy creatures. In fact, a few years ago a small, long-eared Eurasian bat survived being stuck in a wall for several days in Broughton. However, their habitats are not. Nor are bats themselves going to be able to survive even unwitting attempts by developers to harm them in the course of their project, especially if they are hibernating. Indeed, harming either bats or their habitats without the explicit consent of the Local Authority is a criminal offence. Sanctions range from the severe to the profound and include imprisonment.
Therefore, if there’s a chance that bats are on or near your development at any point in the year, you’re going to need a bat survey if you want to get planning permission.
Development that protects bats across Cheshire
With the ever-growing green focus and the resultant pressure on developers and homeowners to comply with environmental regulations, you could be forgiven for thinking that local authorities are putting insurmountable barriers in the way of projects small and large.
There are prominent examples of a cautious approach to granting planning consent across the county due to the presence of protected species, including bats. In 2018, one application for a development in Macclesfield town centre resulted in a report by the Nature Conservation Officer at Cheshire East Council calling for a bat survey to examine the disused buildings on the site.
However, development is on the agenda.
As of 2021, Stockport town centre is amid a £1 billion regeneration project and is the first place in the country to benefit from a Mayoral Development Corporation – a new way of tackling the housing crisis and the evolving role of town centres. The point of this initiative is to drive the construction of homes and supporting infrastructure to create a modern, green environment for people to live and work. Consequently, the opportunities for investors, developers, and homeowners alike are legion.
Ultimately, the local authority’s approach is all about balance.
Preserving, protecting, and enhancing habitats whilst meeting the needs of people and businesses.
Planning Officers are not averse to granting planning permission, provided the developer meets their legal obligations, and the project satisfies the conditions laid out in the Local Plan. But, they can only grant planning consent if they have sufficient evidence to do so.
What bats mean for your planning application
Insofar as bats are concerned, a bat survey will give the planning Case Officer the evidence they need to make a positive planning determination.
There are two broad categories of bat survey. Phase 1 (also known as a walkover survey, bat assessment, or biodiversity report) and Phase 2 (dusk-dawn survey, bat emergence survey, or bat activity report).
Phase 1 surveys can be done at any time of the year. One of our local bat surveyors will come to your site and, simply put, check for bats. This involves looking for bats themselves, evidence they’re roosting on your site, and inspecting potential habitats. They’ll then produce a report that you can send to the local authority with your planning application.
If they find no evidence that bats are present and it’s unlikely that this situation will change then the report alone will (usually) satisfy the planning Case Officer. This is also sometimes the case if there are habitats present, but they’re of low quality, and your bat surveyor can suggest robust measures that you can put in place to protect them.
However, if you do have substantial habitats, with or without bats; the local authority will likely ask you for further surveys. This will be a phase two bat survey, and these can only be completed between May and September.
These surveys can feel like a major inconvenience, especially if you need a phase 2 survey as they can delay your development schedule. This is why you must get in touch with us as soon as possible so that we can get involved early and keep those delays to a minimum. At the end of the day, if you don’t have planning permission, your project can’t move forwards. In many cases, a bat survey will be a condition of you getting the planning consent you need.
Cheshire’s most trusted bat survey ecologists
Speaking of planning consent, we’ve been helping developers and homeowners solve their bat problems for 16 years now, and they’ve helped around 15,000 people get their applications through planning.
Hundreds of 5 star reviews on Reviews.co.uk and Trust Pilot can’t be wrong
Our bat surveyors are the best around. You’ll probably meet Mel, Louise, Elen and Matt – all of whom work out of our barn conversion office in Cheshire – on your site and every one of them is a specialist in providing bat advice for planning applications. They’re all educated to bachelors or masters level and have completed and passed our rigorous in-house training program that exposes them to all manner of sites.
Between them, they’ve seen pretty much every bat problem under the sun. This, along with their detailed local knowledge of the planning policies used by the local authorities and special interest groups that routinely object to planning applications, means your bat report will contain everything it needs to successfully support your planning application – or your money back.
Get a bat survey in Cheshire 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.
Cheshire Wildlife Trust. N.D. Priority species and habitats. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]
Environment Analyst UK. N.D. Council calls for bat and nesting bird protection. [Online]. Available from: https://environment-analyst.com/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]
Statham, N. 2020. The big plans that could change the face of Stockport in 2021 and beyond. [Online]. Available from: https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]
Stockport MDC. ND. What is the MDC? [Online]. Available from https://www.stockportmdc.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]
Wise, L. 2018. Tiny bat who was stuck in a wall rescued and on road to recovery. [Online]. Available from: https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]