Everything You Need to Know
Your local planning authority has asked you for a bat survey because, over the last century, populations and ranges of bats of all species have exhibited a steady decline. There is a significant and growing volume of research that suggests this issue lies squarely at the feet of high-quality habitats being lost to development.
Assisting developers up and down the country, Arbtech has an enormous wealth of experience when it comes to providing bat surveys for planning purposes. A Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) is stage 1 of the bat surveying process and enables our expert bat surveyors to attend a development site and analyse all natural and man-made features for indications that bats may be present.
An initial walkover assessment, we make the PRA process fast, efficient and available at unbeatable value. We also strive to guarantee that your local planning authority accept the accompanying ecology report that will support planning applications. As well as a fantastic level of speed and service as standard, we offer multiple ‘trade-ups’ for customers who are really up against it, including weekend appointments and a next working day report service.
Providing you follow our advice, the promise is simple: get planning, or your money back.
What is a Preliminary Roost Assessment?
Also commonly referred to as a Scoping Survey, a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) is an initial assessment designed to accommodate roosting bats and provide the planning department of your local council with evidence from an internal and external inspection of a site to bolster applications for planning permission.
Bats may occupy a multitude of features suitable for roosting, such as buildings, tree lines and hedgerows. They can also go unnoticed, using hanging tiles and weather boarding as breeding sites or a suitable resting place, as well as in unlikely structures such as wind turbines. As such, whether or not you are aware of them featuring in the surrounding landscape, it can be difficult to avoid disturbing bats present.
Unlike a Bat Emergence and Re-Entry Survey (BERS) – also titled a Bat Activity Survey or Bat Emergence Survey – Preliminary Roost Assessments (PRA) aren’t limited to the summer months and can instead be conducted at any time of year. From there, our team of professional ecologists can then determine whether Bat Activity Surveys or further surveys are needed.
Preliminary Roost Assessment Example
On the day of a Preliminary Roost Assessment Survey, one of our experienced ecologists will attend the site of a proposed development at a convenient time for the developer. The site visit will coincide with a desk study that will be used to uncover information about the site, such as existing data that could benefit the assessment process.
All features will face a thorough internal inspection during the survey visit, with the licensed bat surveyor using sightings of bat droppings, urine stains, carcasses and remains of prey as indications of the presence of bats. Even if none of these factors suggests existing roosts, structures may possess features that could act as future bat roosts or pose likely access points, leaving the ecologist with the task of gauging the appropriate suitability category.
Roost suitability ranges from low suitability to high suitability, and if the site has overall negligible suitability, the bat survey report will reflect that no further survey is needed, recommending that the local authority grant a planning application on the site. If, however, a bat roost is found, there are indications of bat species on the site, or if the suitability category is high, the ecologist will be required to carry out a full bat survey in the form of an Emergence Survey.
How We Approach Bat Scoping Surveys
To date, we have helped more than 12,000 land and property developers just like you with bat surveys to support applications for planning consent. Between our Reviews page, Reviews.co.uk and Trustpilot, you can read over a thousand reviews of our services, featuring positive reviews from satisfied clients that show complete transparency and span back several years.
Preliminary Roost Assessment Guidelines
All of our protected species surveys are undertaken under the strict parameters of relevant regulators and existing legislation. For instance, UK law makes bats protected under Section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Schedule II of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. Alongside other listed protected species, it is against the law to deliberately disturb, injure, capture or kill bats, as well as to destroy, damage or obstruct access to bat roosts.
If the bat surveyor determines that a bat roost needs to be destroyed and compensated for elsewhere with the creation of a new roost or the installation of bat boxes, the developer would need to obtain the necessary European protected species licence. Through our relationship with Natural England and Natural Resources Wales, we can assist your application for a bat mitigation class licence. For any other considerations involving a bat present on a site that could hinder a new development, our ecologists are more than happy to provide information and support.
Over this year alone, each surveyor in our ecology team will spend more than 1,200 hours surveying the UK bat species present throughout the country. Due to our scale and geographical reach, we can offer a Preliminary Bat Roost Assessment to all clients regardless of your location, giving you access to a fast service and allowing us to provide the best value possible.
Our ecological consultancy offers an unlimited CPD budget to our ecologists, giving every member of our team access to the latest survey techniques, technology and guidance, ensuring minimal planning risk and maximum speed. Possessing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, our bat surveyors underwent a rigorous in-house training programme prior to carrying out any Scoping Survey or Emergence and Re-Entry Survey, exposing them to a wide variety of site issues across a range of species.
Every stage of our company structure guarantees best practice guidelines and impactful support. Arbtech‘s team offers connections to the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) and other local bat groups, experience using bat detectors and other specialised survey equipment, and access to a hive of knowledge that will contribute towards professional bat surveys and successful bat licence applications.
Bat Scoping Survey Cost
At a baseline level, a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) will start at £399+VAT, with travel expenses and your bat survey report included. As all development proposals are different, we offer a bespoke price for each client, eliminating any unfairness that would otherwise come from a client paying the same for a large site as they would for a small one.
Following information about your site and project, our ecological consultancy will send you a free quote for you to consider. We can then attend your site for a Scoping Survey to record bat presence and put forward the necessary mitigation measures to ensure that you achieve planning permission for your project.