Sunday, 15 May 2011

U.K. Mandates to Execute Bat Surveys if Development Work Impacts Their Roosts

The bats during their flight thrive on other insects, hedgerows, woodlands and ponds. In Britain, there are 17 bat species, the largest being mouse eared Myotis. However, this type of bat was declared extinct in the U.K. in 1990. But, a female of this was discovered in 2001 and a male of this type was hibernation in a tunnel in 2002. The reason behind declaring them extinct was declining survival ratio of the bats due to loss of compatible and feeding habitats and flight paths such as hedgerows, woodlands and small ponds. Also, the pesticides used in agriculture take toll of the insects on which bats survive. Normally, the bats roosts are situated on trees and when they are cut and removed due to building and development works, bats are naturally going to be extinct and bat survey becomes the need of the hour.

Given this appalling situation of the bats, bats are protected under section 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and regulation 39 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007. These regulations consider it an offense to intentionally kill, injure or imprison any wild animal of European protected species. Also, it is an offense to impede bats to access their roosts, to possess or transport such species if not acquired legally. Therefore, any development work that affects bats needs to undertake bat surveys. Such development work typically includes linear features such as woodland edges, hedgerows and canals nearby which bats may use for obtaining food. In this scenario, help of professional environmental consultancy can be of great help as they have the professionals who can carry out essential bat surveys such as initial habitat assessment, building or bridge survey, tree surveys underground survey, dawn and dusk survey as well as bat activity survey. Depending upon the nature of the development work and the bat habitat that might get affected by the development work, environmental consultancy decides to execute bat survey.