Bat Survey, Scotland: Protected Species Surveys

Bat surveys are undertaken for development sites to inform a planning application and determine the presence of bats within a structure or tree. In Scotland, development works, from minor home improvements to major projects such as the development of wind farms, require licensing to ensure no offences are committed in relation to the bat community.

A bat activity survey will detect the presence or likely absence of bats in a particular area so that plans can be made to proceed with a development. If bats or bat roosts are found to be present on a site, mitigation and compensation measures must be undertaken before any development work can begin that could affect bats negatively and detrimentally.

All species of bats in Scotland are protected by several statutes, species including the common pipistrelle bat, Noctule bat and soprano pipistrelle bat. Any works affecting the lives and the breeding of bats, without first gaining a European protected species license, are against the law. For more information on the licence application, you can visit the NatureScot website.

In Scotland, bat activity is highest during the summer months. Therefore, surveys should be carried out during this time to determine the presence of roosting bats. If bat activity is found during a bat survey in the summer months, a bat hibernation survey may be required during the winter to establish whether the area is also used by hibernating bats.

bat survey scotland

Types of Bat Survey in Scotland


hough there are many types of surveys that can be carried out to assess a number of details, the two most common are as follows:

Preliminary Roost Assessment/Scoping Bat Survey: This is the first step in the bat surveying process which involves an ecologist carrying out a site visit. They will carry out an internal and external inspection of the building looking for evidence of bats, including insect feeding remains and bat droppings.

Nocturnal Bat Survey/Bat Emergence Survey: This involves surveyors using bat detectors to record and analyse bat calls. They will be either dusk emergence surveys (when bats are leaving their roosts to forage) or dawn re-entry surveys (the end of the night out when all the bats return back to their roosts).


How Can Collington Winter Assist?

The team at Collington Winter Environmental are highly skilled ecological consultants and have much experience carrying out licensed bat surveys on a range of development projects.

The Bat Conservation Trust’s (BCT) ‘Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists Good Practice Guidelines’ provides specialists with the latest up to date guidelines and information regarding the best practices of bat surveys, ensuring we are always operating to the highest standard and to correct legislation.

Our Ecological Director, Olivia Collington, holds a Natural England bat licence and has worked with several protected species of bats over the years.

For more information on our bat surveys or any other protected species survey, please get in touch with our director at, Alternatively, you can contact us via our website using the form below and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible.

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