Bats

A recent project brought about an interesting turn of events. The project was for a small extension to enlarge an existing utility room. Not a difficult project on the face of it however the original house is a listed building which had undergone a large extension some thirty plus years ago. The property was also sited in a National Park. After undertaking a measured survey, design drawings were produced and a planning application submitted. The existing utility room had a lean to roof with a covering of clay plain tiles. The client wished for the utility room to be extended to the rear with the lean to roof extended so that the building was similar to the existing. It became apparent that the roof pitch would not lend itself to keeping the same design due to the use of plain tiles and a lower pitched roof. In short these tiles require a steeper roof pitch closer to thirty five degrees. The design of the roof was changed to a hipped roof

As the period for receiving a decision loomed closer an email from the planning case officer asked for a bat survey to be undertaken. The site was located adjacent to a large woodland and therefore triggered the need for the survey.  Clearly this was a little frustrating to have to arrange this type of survey at such a late stage in the proceedings, but it has to be said that the case officer made the correct call.

A well known ecology company  was contacted and a Preliminary Survey was arranged. Indeed evidence of bats were discovered which led to the need for further surveys to investigate the location of roosts, the species. The ecologist arranged to carry out dawn and dusk surveys where the pattern and frequency of flights, positions of entry to existing roofs were recorded. Now, let’s be frank, surveys of this kind are expensive, the time needs to carry out the surveys and the level of expertise   does not come cheap.

The final report of the surveys has arrived with evidence to prove that bats are roosting in the main house roof. This has been emailed to the case officer and the council’s ecologist will review the findings. Following planning permission being gained a licence will need to be obtained in order to carry out the work. Measures will be put into place to monitor the removal of the roof with the ecologist on hand to carefully capture and safely move any bats.

What on the face of things was going to be a fairly straightforward extension turned into an expensive although interesting job. The protection of bats and other wildlife under threat is something to be taken seriously. Bats are protected by law and penalties for disturbing or harming bats without the proper consents can carry consequences. Additionally the new roof will need to be constructed to allow bats to re-enter and roost again in their previous location using materials that are not harmful to bats.