08 May 2019 Supporting Professional Development: Bat Survey Training
Bat survey work needs to be designed in a project-specific manner to allow impacts on populations to be accurately assessed, effects mitigated and licenses achieved.
Our latest graduate training workshop, held in April 2019, provided attendees with the opportunity to discuss the scope and specification of bat surveys when faced with different development scenarios. It also included a field-based training session on tree assessment.
Purpose of Training
The bat training day was designed to help attendees understand the critical questions they need to ask when scoping and designing bat survey work, and to familiarise them with industry standard techniques and guidance documents. It also sought to ensure common standards of survey, storage and interpretation, and to establish clear points of contact for future questions.
The course covered bat roost inspection surveys for buildings and trees, dusk emergence and re-entry surveys and bat activity surveys. The applicability, practicalities and limitations of each technique were presented and discussed. An overview of industry standard guidance, and its role in ensuring consistency in the general approach to bat survey work was also provided.
The course incorporated a practical session on Potential Roost Feature (PRF) inspections for trees. This involved carrying out ground-level assessments of trees and examining PRFs using an endoscope (under the supervision of a licenced ecologist). Experience using an endoscope is important in securing a Level 2 Class Licence for bats.
The afternoon session was given over to discussions of how to scope survey work, and the questions that need to be asked when faced with different development scenarios. Small sub-groups were provided with case studies and reported back to the room on their proposed approaches. The strengths and weaknesses of these were then discussed.
The course providers were Principal Ecologists Guy Miller and Rachel Taylor. Guy holds a Natural England survey licence for bats, is a qualified tree climber, and regularly carries out aerial tree surveys for bat roosts. Rachel holds Natural Resources Wales and Natural England bat survey licences, undertakes underground roost visits during the winter, and leads on the design of bat survey work for many of our onshore wind farm sites, all of which require specific consideration in terms of scope of works.
“The bat training was invaluable and well-timed. I was able to ask questions with regard to survey effort and proportionality, and the answers given were well-reasoned and useful for future survey planning.” Sophie Olejnik, Senior Ecologist
“The session was very useful, thought-provoking and interactive. Having attended the training, I would feel more confident discussing and making decisions on survey design” Joanne Conway, Ecologist
“The recent bat training was vital in gaining an understanding of bat survey work for consultants, particularly the complexities involved with assessing trees for bats. I now feel much more comfortable with carrying out my own building and tree assessments, and identifying the requirement for further survey work.” Joe Bishop, Ecologist
For bat survey support, please contact one of our offices.