How Ecological Surveys can help Promote Green Living

For those of us who are aware of the importance of looking after our wildlife and planet, we try and go about our lives in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, but there are some things which seem to counter any efforts to look after a local habitat that are, unfortunately, hard to avoid. One of the biggies is housing development and renovation.

Bats inside a home. Photo credit: Neil Smith

In a way, these can be good for the environmentally conscious as building on already-used space slows down the expansion of new housing estates, and encourages thought about recycled housing products to keep everything in sync with the rest of the house. It’s definitely a good thing for long-term issues on global warming and biodiversity, however, there are problems raised with the protection of bats that may be living in the loft of an older house.

Bats are more likely to live in old houses, partly because the houses have simply been there longer, so there has been a longer time for bats to find it, but also because older houses tend to have more holes and ways in for bats. This means they’re really likely to be disturbed by renovation or expansion. Several bat species are endangered across the world and, in the UK, it’s illegal to disturb or move bats at all. For that reason there are people who carry out a 3 step bat survey for people wishing to develop property.

Photo credit: e_monk

They are usually requested by the local council when applying for planning permission, which is the point people start looking for the best bat survey organization around the UK. The first phase of the survey is a short and simple check for evidence of bats living in the property, extending to droppings, food, bat carcasses and other tell-tale signs. It can be done at any point in the year. Phase 2 is an emergence test conducted outside the property, in which a surveyor monitors the house at dusk and other points in the day, checking for bat activity around the house, as this is when they are most active. This test can only be conducted throughout the longer days, from May to September, so it’s important to find a bat survey soon if you wish to complete the planning permission this year. If bats are living in the property then you will need a European Protected Species (EPS) license before you can do anything to the building.

It’s important to highlight this need for bat surveys as many people living the green life do not consider the effects of changing a home can have on local habitats, and, let’s face it, you’re probably not developing your home that often, so it’s probably something that didn’t need thinking about until the time comes.

If you didn’t know about the endangered species of bats in the UK then click here for an interesting info-graphic showing the worst hit species that may help you think about the need to look after what we have.

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