ECOSA was appointed to undertake an ecological assessment of a food store building in southern Hampshire to enable re-roofing works to be undertaken. Bat surveys confirmed the presence of two species of roosting bats, and a licence was obtained from Natural England to permit the re-roofing works to be undertaken. Mitigation features were incorporated to compensate for the roost loss and ultimately provide long-term roosting opportunities for bats within the local area.
The initial ecology survey revealed evidence of bats roosting within the building in the form of bat droppings attributed to long-eared bat Plecotus species. In accordance with current best practice guidelines, roost characterisation surveys were undertaken between June and August 2018. This comprised two dusk emergence surveys and one pre-dawn re-entry survey. A single common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus bat was recorded emerging from a raised roof tile on the southern elevation of the building during one of the dusk emergence surveys, with two additional bat species recorded foraging and commuting including noctule Nyctalus noctula and long-eared bat species.
Given that the surveys confirmed the building to support a low status day roost of common pipistrelle and a low status day roost of long-eared bat species, the proposed re-roofing works would result in the loss of two bat roosts and may result in the killing/injury of bats if present at the time of the works.
A European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licence was sought and successfully obtained from Natural England which allowed for the reroofing works to commence under the supervision of a bat licensed ecologist. During the 2019 supervision works, no bats were found roosting and the works proceeded as planned.
Working closely with Southern Co-op, we devised a suitable mitigation strategy to ensure that new bat roosting features could be successfully incorporated into the new roof. This included the installation of a single modified roof tile to allow access to the void for long-eared bats, and a single bat box installed on the exterior of the store suitable for species including common pipistrelle. Additionally, any new roofing felt used comprised traditional bitumen felt to prevent the entanglement of bats. The incorporation of these additional bat roosting features - which will be left in-situ in perpetuity - will provide long-term roosting opportunities, and enhance the site for bats within the local area.