Wirral Bat Surveys – Planning Application Experts

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Why Choose Arbtech?

Arbtech are the best asset you can possibly have when you need ecology or tree surveys to help you obtain planning permission.

Local bat surveyors in Birkenhead, Heswall, and West Kirby 

Bat Surveyors across the Wirral: Sometimes, you’ll need a bat survey before one of the local authorities in the Wirral will grant you planning permission. The reasons for this vary, but they have one thing in common; in their judgement, your development will or is likely to disturb bats or their roosts. 

Bats are commonplace in the Wirral. In fact, you’ll find five species in the beautiful Birkenhead Park alone. Unsurprisingly, protecting bats is high on the agenda of councils and local community groups. The latter are often very concerned indeed about bats and other protected species, demonstrated in only last summer by a protest in West Kirby following a decision by Wirral council to cut down 33 trees in a cemetery. This protest was due, in part, to the impact the loss of habitat would have on bats that may be roosting in the trees. 

Now, there is the question of whether or not you need a bat survey at all. Unfortunately, whilst there will be a “yes” or “no” answer to this, every development is different, so it’s impossible to say with certainty before you make an enquiry, and we can talk about your site in detail. Alternatively, the next best thing to do is get in touch with your local council as soon as possible (because some types of bat survey can only be carried out between May and September) to avoid unexpected delay and disappointment.

What we can say is that certain features increase the likelihood that bats will be present on or near your site. For example, if you’re planning a development near the River Mersey in Birkenhead, it’s sensible to be alert to the possibility of bats. This is because bats are fond of waterways due to the abundance of gnats and midges that hover above the surface. Similarly, if you’re developing in Heswall, you need to be mindful of the town’s close proximity to green spaces like the Heswall Dales and Cleaver Heath Nature Reserve. Naturally, these wild spaces harbour broad biodiversity, including bats that can roam further than you might think.

Of course, these examples are far from exhaustive, so please get in touch with your local authority for the bespoke information you need to make a decision.

Building a greener Wirral 

As for development, there’s plenty of it in progress and lots more planned for the future. Wirral Waters, a development in Birkenhead dockyard is set to provide 13,500 new homes over the next 25 years, with 500 due to be built by 2023. This regeneration project is one of the largest in Europe; if anything, it proves that whilst you need to meet your legal obligations to protected species, Planning Officers are fully prepared to grant planning consents.

Wirral Council’s Housing Delivery Action Plan provides further evidence of this positive attitude towards development, and indicates a clear commitment to meeting the housing needs of the community. This action plan isn’t shy of admitting that the high degree of environmental regulation due to the number of coastlines, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and Sites of Biological Importance across the Wirral. However, the plan also says that they have engaged advisors to support the local authorities to drive sustainable development in these regions.

That said, no matter how eager the councils are to support housebuilding, they cannot do so at the expense of protected species like bats. Fortunately, planning Case Officers make decisions based on policy and evidence. This is why you need a bat survey to support your planning application if there is any possibility that your project will harm the local bat population. 

Bat surveys and planning permission for your development

Simply put, the planning Case Officer needs to defend their decision to grant planning consent, especially where protected species are involved. 

In cases where there are no bats, and any habitats are of very poor quality, your bat report alone (so long as it has been completed by a specialist bat surveyor) will usually be enough to secure planning permission. These surveys are called Phase 1 bat surveys (also known as preliminary bat roost assessments or scoping surveys). They involve a licenced bat surveyor visiting your site at any point in the year to look for bats and examine your site for habitats. In these instances, the report may or may not contain compensatory or mitigating measures you need to put in place. 

However, if your bat ecologist finds bats, evidence they’re there at some point in the year, or reasonably substantial habitats the local authority will likely ask you for further surveys. These Phase 2 surveys go by several names, and you might have heard them referred to as bat emergence surveys, bat activity surveys or nocturnal bat surveys. You can only have one of these between May and September, which is why it is vital to plan ahead and get a bat surveyor involved early.

!00% success rate at planning in 16 years

Many people find bat surveys to be an unwelcome expense and inconvenience. Nevertheless, if you choose to go ahead with your development without having a bat survey and disturb a habitat and/or harm even a single bat, the consequences are severe. As well as a criminal record, you could face an unlimited fine and prison sentence. This really isn’t a risk worth taking, either. Because as of 2021, we’ve helped around 15,000 people solve their bat problems and secure planning permission. 

Hundreds of 5 Star Reviews on Reviews.co.uk and Trust Pilot

We’ve been operating for 16 years now, and in that time, we’ve seen pretty much every bat-related planning issue you could think of. So, we know that we can provide the pertinent ecology advice you need to get through planning.

And on the off chance that we can’t?

We’ll give you your money back.

No questions. No quibbles.

Our team of expert bat surveyors are all educated to bachelor’s or master’s degree level. They’ve also passed a demanding in-house training program that exposes them to all manner of different sites, from single dwellings in the countryside to sprawling urban developments; and of course, they’re all Natural England licenced surveyors.

They’ll also come to your site with a firm grasp of the policies Wirral Council and the other local authorities use to make their planning determinations, as well as an awareness of the local interest groups who object to planning applications as a matter of course.

All this comes together to ensure you get planning permission, fast.

Get a bat survey in Wirral 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.

Hughes, L. Nine amazing animals you’ll find in Wirral’s Birkenhead Park. [Online]. Available from: https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/[Accessed 4th February 2021]

Morgan, G. 2020. [Online]. Protesters furious after trees cut down in Grange Cemetary, West Kirby. [Online]. Available from: wirralglobe.co.uk/news/18275055 [Accessed 4th February 2021]

Morgan, G. 2020. 500 more homes to be built by 2023 on Wirral’s biggest housing development. [Online] https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]

Wirral Council. 2019. Wirral Council Housing Development Action Plan. [Online]. Available from: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/ [Accessed 4th February 2021]

Common Questions

Our Wirral team includes Louise Sawrey, Melissa Reid and Elen Griffin. We are all based at Arbtech's head office in Chester, just a few miles from Heswall, Parkgate, Birkenhead and West Kirby - thought which we do the majority of our work.
Generally, from £389+VAT. This is a fixed fee quote and includes our travelling and other expenses, and your report.
Yes. Apart from being a 10 minute drive from our team of highly qualified bat surveyors, we also offer a next working day report service. It's a paid upgrade, but if you're really up against the clock, we'll help you out.
All our Wirral bat survey team have licences from Natural England, as well as several years training and experience, have done thousands of survey hours and are at least bachelors or masters graduates. we've got you covered, if that's what worries you.
Wirral Council aren't looking for excuses to refuse you planning permission (even if it feels that way sometimes!) All you need to do is demonstrate that your site isn't host to bats or their roosts, or alternatively, show (through surveys) that you know the species, population numbers and what they are using the site for, and design approbate mitigation.

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