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Derby Bat Survey: Bats and their habitats can affect your planning application. If bats or their habitats are found on your site or property, this could affect or delay your planning application. However, you can still get planning permission if you have a bat survey and commit to following the mitigation advice contained in the report.
That’s right: bats cannot stop you from getting planning permission.
If you’re planning a development in Derby, you need to be open to the possibility that bats will be roosting on your site. Bats are prevalent throughout Derbyshire, and in 2018 a local bat group found bats in every part of the city. They tallied 554 records across all 106 square kilometres of the city, with ten of Derbyshire’s twelve bat species present during the largest collective survey to date.
Several factors can increase the chances of you encountering bats on your site. For example, if your development is close to the River Derwent, you’re more likely to find bats (or their roosts), because bats feed on the clouds of insects that are drawn to the water. As you go beyond the city limits and into the Derbyshire lowlands, you’ll start to see hedgerows that are often vital for bats and form an integral part of their habitat. Some of these hedgerows have been in place for a millennium and bats rely on them for navigation and hunting.
Whilst ecological concerns factor into almost every planning decision, the Derby City Centre masterplan sets lofty development goals. The local authority is aiming to use £3.5 billion in investment to create 4,000 new jobs and build 1,900 new homes by 2030. However, it’s unlikely that projects will be permitted at the expense of the environment; especially as the city centre contains a large conservation area.
Bat roosts and your legal obligations
Bats are a protected species. Even the Common pipistrelle, a species that’s found in reasonable numbers across Derby is guarded by the same laws as the vanishingly rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle.
Of course, the rarity of the bat and/or the quality of the habitat will influence your planning Case Officer’s decision around what constitutes acceptable mitigation if you need to disturb either during your development.
These mitigating and compensatory measures aren’t optional, and ignoring them carries hefty penalties, even for homeowners or developers working on a small site. In 2019, a developer demolished a single bungalow in Ashover that was home to a group of Common pipistrelle bats. Even though these bats are the most common in the UK, the Rural Crime Team took a dim view of this, and the developer found themselves in court. What’s particularly interesting about this case is that the developer was informed about the bats by an ecologist who completed a bat survey. They then chose to commission a second bat report that ‘told of a bat free zone’ – a terrible decision that did not serve them well in Court.
If you’re worried your application will be refused because of bats, not having a survey won’t solve the problem. Nor will failing to comply with the recommendations of your bat surveyor. Instead, both courses of action open you up to incredible risk.
The good news is, we’re experts in providing sensible solutions to bat problems that satisfy the local authority and achieve planning permission.
We’ve been doing this for 16 years and, as of 2021, undertake around 3,000 projects per annum so there aren’t many bat-related planning issues we haven’t seen before.
Phase 1 and Phase 2 bat surveys
If you or the local authority identify that your site could reasonably contain a bat roost or habitat, you’re first going to need a phase 1 bat survey (you may have heard this called a scoping survey or preliminary roost assessment).
The process is relatively straightforward. A specialist bat surveyor will come to your site and examine it to determine if bats are present or likely to be present at some point in the year. They’ll also inspect any potential habitats on your sites and assess their value to any bats that may be roosting in the general vicinity.
You can get a scoping survey done without delay as, unlike phase 2 surveys, these can be completed at any time of the year. You won’t be waiting long for your report either because your bat ecologist will get the completed document back to you in two or three days.
If there’s no evidence that bats are roosting on your site; the report and recommendations provided by your bat specialist will usually be enough to satisfy your planning Case Officer at Derby City Council.
If bats or high-quality habitats are found, the local authority will ask you to undertake further surveys. These might include a dusk and dawn bat survey or a bat emergence survey.
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Our bat specialists are the best around.
They collectively undertake hundreds (if not thousands) of projects across the UK. Most of our 30+ strong team work from home, too. This means your bat survey will be carried out by a local expert who knows precisely how bats influence planning applications in Derby. It’ll probably be Elen Griffin or Matt Edwards. Both of whom live locally and have done bat surveys in Derby for many years.
This includes (but is far from limited to): local interest groups that routinely object to planning applications, the policies the local planning department use to make determinations, and plenty of experience solving bat problems in Derby and beyond.
Your ecological consultant will be supported by a superb back office team and our processes are geared towards maximum speed and efficiency, so you get the report and advice you need, fast. And, if you need to meet a tight deadline to keep your project moving, you can invest in a paid upgrade for a next working day report or even a weekend survey.
Get a bat survey in Derby with comprehensive advice you can trust
If you want your bat survey to be managed by a local expert and contain all the advice you need to get planning permission – choose Arbtech.
Derby City Council. N.D. City Centre Masterplan 2030 project overview. [Online]. Available from: https://www.derby.gov.uk/ [Accessed 27th January 2021]
Derbyshire Bat Group. 2018. Bats found across Derby City! [Online]. Available from: http://www.derbyshirebats.org.uk/ [Accessed 27th January 2021]
Derbyshire County Council. 2011. Lowland Derbyshire Biodiversity Action Plan. [Online]. Available from: https://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/environment/[Accessed 27th January 2021]
Grant, J. 2019. Developer who bulldozed bungalow knowing it was home to bats avoids jail. [Online]. Available from: https://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/ [Accessed 27th January 2021]