26 Feb 2020 Changes in Rope Access Techniques for Aerial Bat Survey
Climbing trees to inspect potential roost features for bats is an effective survey technique. It allows cavities to be examined and assessed, and for evidence of use by bats to be searched for. Given the legal protection afforded to bats and their roosts, this approach allows for a robust assessment of potential roost features, and helps to determine the scope of other follow up work (i.e. more survey or mitigation) that could be required. BSG Ecology employs a team of ecologists who are both qualified and licenced to climb trees and to undertake surveys for bat roosts.
Guidance on tree climbing has recently changed: a system using two-ropes is now recommended by the HSE to allow for closer compliance with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. New guidance will be set out in revised Industry Code of Practice, which is due to be published in spring 2020.
This guidance will require tree climbers to be connected to the tree using two independent ropes at all times (unless not reasonably practicable, or where using two ropes would entail a higher risk), rather than just one, which was previous standard practice.
In response to this forthcoming change, BSG Ecology ran an in-house training session in a Sheffield woodland, in February 2020, to practice the new method and ensure that staff across the practice involved in tree work are conversant with the new guidance. We have also invested in new equipment to ensure that this can be done as efficiently as possible; the safety of our team being a priority.
Based on our experience the requirement for two-rope access will typically require a little more time to install ropes in the tree and for gaining access to the canopy.
Further information on surveying tress for bats and our capability can be found here: Tree Surveys for Bats
If you need aerial bat surveys, please contact one of our offices.