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Bat Emergence Surveys for Planning Applications

Bat emergence and re-entry surveys are usually the next step following a bat scoping survey or a preliminary roost assessment when evidence of bat presence has been detected in an area. Local planning authorities may require these surveys to be completed as part of a planning application for planning permission.

Bat emergence surveys can be requested for any project that has the potential to interfere with, endanger or disturb bats on a site. If a bat emergence survey finds that bats are present on a site, mitigation and compensation measures must be taken before any development work can begin.

There are many species of bats within the UK, including noctule bats, common pipistrelle bats, soprano pipistrelle bats, Daubentons’ bats, Brandt’s bats and whiskered bats. Therefore, bat emergence surveys should be carried out by an experienced ecologist in order to ensure that the results are accurate and correct when surveys are required.

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Undertaking a bat emergence survey

When it is established that a bat emergence survey is required an ecologist will visit the site. The ecologist will monitor any entry and exit points to gather information on the location, bat species and population of the bats. These surveys will be conducted on numerous occasions over a period of time until a range of sufficient data has been collected.

The ecologist will look for any signs of bats emerging from these points using bat equipment, including bat detectors, infrared, thermal imaging and night vision to find evidence of bats. This information will then be used to gauge the presence of bats on the site and determine the effect any development work may have on these bats as a result.

A professional ecologist will analyse the site at length and record visuals and sounds of inhabiting bats before compiling the findings and any recommendations into a report. This report can then be submitted to the local planning authorities as part of a planning application for planning permission. This report can also assist with development plans and any mitigation methods that may be required to ensure that the project can go ahead.

Bats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and are a European protected species. As with any legally protected species, bats are protected under certain legislation and restrictions are in place depending on the specific bat activity and behaviours of the bat species in question. Further survey guidelines can be found on the bat conservation trust website.

Bat emergence survey season

Bat emergence surveys must be undertaken outside of bat hibernation season so that the disturbance to them is minimised. Bats typically hibernate between November and March, which means that it is only possible to carry out bat emergence surveys in a specific period of time between April and October.

However, the optimal time of the year to carry out an emergence survey is between May and September, as this period of time is when bat activity is at its highest. Therefore, we recommend that you undertake bat emergence surveys during this time to get the most accurate results possible.

It is also recommended that surveys are conducted 15 minutes before or two hours after sunset or 15 minutes before/two hours after sunrise, as this is when bats are most active.

How can Collington Winter assist?

Collington Winter is an ecological consultancy with many years of experience in undertaking bat emergence surveys and bat surveys on all types of development sites and projects and can help you to meet any ecological requirements necessary for a planning application for planning permission.

Our ecology director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England Bat Licence and has worked with protected species and bat surveyors across the UK.

Please get in touch with our Ecology Director Olivia Collington ( for more information on protected species surveys. We also provide ecological appraisal and assessment services.

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