Bats | 16 October 2023
Recently, GES has had the incredible opportunity to undertake a new approach known as Bat Earned Recognition (BER) licensing. The Bat Conservation Trust has been working in collaboration with Natural England (NE) and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environment Management (CIEEM) to establish this innovative approach to bat licensing mitigation work in England. The BER has been through two phases of trial and is now being adopted as ‘Business As Usual’ by NE.
The new scheme works by assessing and accrediting a consultant’s competence and experience in undertaking survey work and roost evaluation and designing effective mitigation schemes for bats. By using an accredited consultant, developers can benefit from a more streamlined licensing process for their project, cutting down on the time, effort and cost that the current licensing process can require. Site registration requests are turned around within 15 working days (rather than the 30+ working days required for a traditional bat mitigation licence to be determined).
So far we have used this approach on 7 sites (8 licences) across the South-East, on projects ranging from a brown long-eared bat hibernation roost in a WWII air raid bunker to a 142-bat maternity colony of soprano pipistrelles in a Grade II listed property, to a site with 5 bat roosts present covering 3 species including a maternity roost of 80 bats and a residential property with 6 bat roosts present covering 4 species, including a brown long-eared hibernation.
Our Bat Lead, Charlotte Bell, was accredited under the pilot BER scheme in April 2022 at accreditation level 2, which allows her to register any sites with up to 11 roosts, covering up to 5 species, and, includes maternity and hibernation roosts of common species (common & soprano pipistrelles and brown long-eared bat), as well as day, transitional and feeding/night roosts of all UK bat species.
Charlotte was also invited by Natural England to work as an Assessor of some of the candidates that applied for the beta testing phase of the scheme this year. She is pleased to have been involved and continues to work with NE to develop and improve the scheme further.
If you have a project with bats and wish to discuss if going down the BER licensing route is an option or would like to talk through the other bat licencing option’s please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we are here to help!
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