Planning Advice on Bats and Buildings
Planning Policy Statement 9, Biodiversity and Geological Conservation , requires planning authorities and other bodies involved in the planning process to consider biodiversity, land use and development in their decision making process. Should bats be present then circular 06/2005, from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, states that the presence of a protected species is a material consideration when considering a development proposal.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) requires that bats are considered in any planning permission and the requirement for bats surveys can be required before a planning application is taken to committee or as a condition of any planning permission. It is the job of the planning authority to assess any application, in consultation with Natural England, to decide upon the most appropriate method to safeguard a protected species and their habitat. This can result in conditions being attached to the grant of a planning permission. Where work will disturb or result in the destruction of a place of rest for bats then an application for a licence will have to be made to Natural England. It is a requirement of a European Protected Species licence that planning permission has already been granted before a licence application can be made.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) Local Authorities are required to bring bats and their protection under the Act to the attention of the public and school children.
Undertaking surveys of buildings prior to applying for planning permission can save considerable time in a development program and can provide information that will allow mitigation planning in a cost effective manner.