If you’re planning a home development that requires planning permission the chances are that you will have thought about the impact on any local protected species. But, even if your renovations don’t require permission it’s important to keep your project within the law! It may be that you need the advice of an ecological consultant.
Wildlife law and your build
Many species are protected under wildlife law within the UK, with a small number afforded the highest protection under European Legislation, for example the dormouse and great crested newt. These species can be found within residential settings, even within urban environments.
For residential developments, such as loft conversions and extensions, the presence of bats, in particular, may need to be taken into account. There are 18 species of bat found within the UK, all of which are protected under European Legislation. This means that it is illegal to disturb a bat or damage/destroy its place of roost – even at times of year when the bats aren’t home.
Should I consider bats?
It is a common misconception that bats only live in caves or very old buildings, in fact common and soprano pipistrelles are often found roosting underneath roof tiles of modern houses, with brown long-eared bats utilising loft spaces during the summer months to raise their young.
Although bats may only be present within a building during the summer months, the protection of their roost remains, this means that expert advice is often required in order to reduce any potential impacts of the development, whether bats are currently present or not.
What to do if you think you have bats
All UK bat species are nocturnal, and therefore householders are often unaware that their home supports a rare and protected species. It may be possible to find signs of roosting bats, such as droppings within the loft space, however, the roosts of common and soprano pipistrelles are often located between the roof tiles and lining and therefore no visible signs are evident.
If you think that bats may be roosting within your property, it may be possible to watch the building closely after dusk between May and September to see if any emerge from the roof area. However, without specialised equipment, it can be very difficult to observe this emergence.
Get the professionals in
If your project requires any works to the roof structure of the building, including to fascias and bargeboards, it is recommended that a qualified ecological consultant is contacted for advice. The consultant will assess the potential of the building for roosting bats and provide site-specific advice in order to ensure that any protected wildlife is taken into account and that your project remains within the law.
To arrange your ecological consultation contact Native Ecology today on 01227 656757.
For help and advice about your home improvement project contact your local Building Control team.
If you need to find a reliable builder, architect or other construction professionals browse our tradesperson directory.
Brought to you by Native Ecology.