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12 May 2016

Natural England Low Impact Bat Class Licence

Natural England have formally launched the Low Impact Bat Class Licence, aimed at reducing the burden on developers, consultants and Natural England for developments and/or activities with a low conservation significance for bats.

Bat survey UKThe new licence has been launched following a successful trial in 2015, which demonstrated that the new licence helped to reduce the application paper work as well as shorten the timescales within which a licence could be determined. It enables a more proportionate approach to licensing to be taken for certain case types.

Making use of the Low Impact Bat Class Licence is a two stage process – the first stage is for a suitably qualified and experienced bat ecologist to apply to become a Registered Consultant. Secondly, the Registered Consultant must register a site before any licensable works are undertaken.

PAA is pleased to announce we have two Registered Consultants – Dr Sarah Ross and Helen Hamilton, both of whom are experienced bat ecologists.

The Low Impact Bat Class Licence can only be applied by a Registered Consultant for sites that meet certain criteria – where the impacts upon bats is of low conservation significance and affect low numbers of common species of bats.

This new licence has the potential to allow a more streamlined process for bat licensing for sites and situations to which it is appropriate. Making this judgement relies heavily on the experience of the Registered Consultants, and a decision should only be taken when supported by a reliable amount of recent survey work. Advice should be sought from a Registered Consultant as early as possible to determine whether a Low Impact Bat Class Licence is appropriate for any particular site.

Please contact Sarah Ross or Helen Hamilton on 01298 27086 for further information and advice, and feel free to browse our services relating to bat surveys and mitigation.