If you've read our previous blog post about nature and planning applications, then you're probably aware that you need to consider more than just your neighbours when creating an application for planning permission, and one particularly important consideration is the presence of bats.
There are currently 18 species of bats in the UK and they are protected under both UK & European legislation, so it is vital that developers and architects investigate the likelihood of bats appearing on their proposed development site.
Bats tend to be creatures of habit in that they usually return to the same roosts year after year and so even if they aren't present at the time, it's likely they will come back, which is the main reason that known roost sites are protected.
If you do find that your proposed development would affect bats either now or in the future then it doesn't always mean that your plans end there. Often your proposed plans can be altered and work can be scheduled in such a way that disturbance to the bats can be minimised or avoided altogether.
If the development is a residential dwelling house then the local planning authority will notify English Nature (EN), and will also give details of any mitigating circumstances and modifications. It will then be up to EN to decide whether the development can continue.
In other cases, a bat specialist will need to be enlisted who will apply to DEFRA for a special license, and until this is granted the work cannot begin.
If bats are found to be present once work has started on the site, then you must cease immediately and seek advice from EN who will then advise on the best course of action and will enlist the assistance of the appropriate experts.
Our advice when making a planning application, would be to investigate the presence of bats as soon as possible during the development process, and if relevant, during site selection.
If you need help with planning applications then McCormick Architecture can help.