Bat Activity Survey – Protected Species Surveys

When engaging in construction or development endeavours, it is crucial to evaluate the potential effects on nearby wildlife and biodiversity. Despite their ecological significance, bats face numerous threats and are highly susceptible to alterations to their surroundings.

Understanding bat populations and their behaviour is essential for effective conservation efforts. One method used to gather data on bat populations and behaviours is the bat activity survey.

These surveys should be conducted during the planning application phase and are often requested by a local planning authority if it is likely that a development could affect bats in the area. Therefore, developers undertaking planning work that may impact bats or their roosts are required to demonstrate consideration for them by instructing a licensed ecologist to conduct a bat activity survey.

What types of bats are there in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, there are various species of bats. These species vary in size, habitat preferences, and feeding behaviours. Some of the main species of bats include the common pipistrelle bat, the noctule bat, the soprano pipistrelle bat, Daubentons’ bat, the whiskered bat, Brandt’s bat, the brown long eared bat, Leisler’s bat, the Nathusius bat and many more.

It is important to note that some of these bat species are rare and have specific habitat requirements. Conservation efforts are in place to protect and preserve these creatures in the United Kingdom.

What is a bat activity survey?

A bat activity survey is a scientific method used to assess the presence, abundance, and behaviour of bat populations in specific areas. This survey typically involves the use of specialised equipment, such as ultrasonic detectors, for recording bat calls as they navigate and hunt for prey during the night.

The process of conducting a bat activity survey includes the following steps:

  1. Site Selection: Researchers choose specific locations near the development site to conduct the survey based on factors such as habitat type and historical records of bat activity.
  2. Equipment Setup: Ultrasonic detectors are strategically placed in the survey area to capture bat calls. These detectors are typically mounted on buildings or trees and programmed to record ultrasonic frequencies emitted by bats.
  3. Data Collection: The detectors are left to record bat activity over a set period, usually during the night when bats are most active. Ecologists may conduct multiple survey sessions to gather comprehensive data on bat activity patterns.
  4. Data Analysis: After collecting recordings, ecologists analyse the data to determine whether bats are present in the area. If evidence of bats is found, this information can be used to assess their activity levels and determine the type of roost found.


Bat activity surveys are critical for biodiversity conservation, habitat management, and environmental impact assessments. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of bats through activity surveys, ecologists can develop strategies to protect bat habitats, mitigate potential threats, and ensure that developers meet conservational requirements for their project.

Why are bat activity surveys required?

Bats are listed as a European protected species. Therefore, conducting bat activity surveys ensures compliance with environmental laws and permits developers to navigate potential legal challenges associated with impacting bat habitats.

Due to their ecological importance, bats are protected under UK and European legislation, including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017. It is an offence to kill, injure, capture, or intentionally disturb bats in their natural habitats. It is also illegal to damage, destroy or obstruct access to bat roosts.

Therefore, if it is found that bats are present on a site, developers are legally required to carry out bat mitigation and compensation measures before any development work can begin. These measures may include the creation of bat boxes or artificial roosts. More information about survey guidelines and bat mitigation measures can be found on the Bat Conservation Trust website.

How can Collington Winter assist?

Collington Winter Environmental are a team of ecological consultants with experience in undertaking bat activity surveys on all types of development projects. Our Ecology Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England Bat licence and has worked with protected species across the UK.

If it is determined that your proposed development may affect bats, our team can provide bat mitigation measures to ensure that your project meets legal requirements. We understand the importance of ecosystem services, natural resources, and natural capital, and we provide practical, realistic solutions to developers in all fields.

Please contact us ( for more information on our mitigation plans and survey work for protected species, such as bat surveys and great crested newt surveys. We also provide ecological appraisal and assessment services.

Our Director Jane Winter also provides landscape architecture services.

Contact Us

Registered Address

23 Bark Street East, 1st Floor, Bolton, BL1 2BQ

Cambridge Office

Future Business Centre, Cambridge Campus, Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge, CB4 2HY


Head Office: 01204 939 608

Dumfries Office: 01387 378208

Get in touch
close slider
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.