Local authorities in Scotland are required to consider bats
(and other protected species) in every application they receive. Â They must assess if bats could possibly roost
on a site and if the answer is yes, theyâ€™ll require a bat survey, to find out. In
most cases they wonâ€™t grant planning consent with a condition that a bat survey
be done: the survey must be done before consent can be granted.
Bat surveys are a two-part process. Stage 1 (also called a
Preliminary Roost Assessment, or PRA) is a visual inspection, carried out in
daylight at any time of year and also assesses surrounding habitat. Sometimes
bat roosts are found, but the most common outcome is either to confirm that
there is are no roosting opportunities or to recommend a stage 2 survey.
Stage 2 surveys are carried out at night, using ultrasound
bat detectors and infrared video to identify active bat roosts. In Scotland
they must be done between 1 May and 30 September, with at least one visit prior
to 31 August.
If you are considering work which requires planning consent,
itâ€™s always worth speaking informally to a bat specialist at David Dodds
Associates at the outset, to find out whether a bat survey is likely to be
required. Waiting for the planning authority to ask for it can lead to problems,
due to the limited season for stage 2 bat surveys.