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Bat survey and mitigation at a Georgian Vicarage

ECOSA was asked to conduct a bat survey by the owners of a Georgian vicarage in Hampshire. The family was seeking to remedy a leaky roof and create new living space to extend their home. The bat survey was a condition of the planning process, as required by Hampshire County Council.

Client: Home owner

Objective: Replacement and modification of leaking roof

The initial survey revealed evidence of bats within the attic space and an extremely high density of droppings on the patio. This triggered the need to carry out more detailed bat surveys, including observation of bat movements at dusk and dawn. The surveys revealed two soprano pipistrelle bats Pipistrellus pygmaeus and a common pipistrelle Pipistrellus pipistrellus using the roof space. A maternity roost of some 21 Natterer's bats Myotis nattereri was identified behind a barge board on the roof gable, making this a site of high value for Natterer's bats at a local level.

Having accurately identified and quantified the species and populations of bats using the house for roosting purposes, ECOSA was able to propose a strategy to minimise disruption to the bats, including:

  • conducting works out of the breeding season;
  • installing bat boxes in mature trees on site to create alternative roosts;
  • a destructive search, during which our ecologists assist the roofing contractors in the stripping of the old roof which ensures a systematic search for any live bats with licensed personnel on hand to transfer any found bats to the alternative roosting provision;
  • new bat roosting features to be incorporated in the replacement roof structure including a modified barge board, various access tiles, appropriate roofing membrane and modified bat bricks; and
  • monitoring surveys to assess the presence and effectiveness of the new bat features annually for two years.

With these proposals incorporated into the plans by the architect, a European Protected Species Mitigation (EPSM) licence permitting the owners to lawfully affect the resident bats was secured from Natural England. All work at the vicarage is now complete and bat monitoring is underway.