Autumn brings with it Halloween, which makes our latest story rather apt. Not tales of haunted houses, but bats – and a rather special bat at that!
We came across something unusual on a recent job. A Serotine bat. One of the UK’s biggest bats (its wingspan can be 15 inches), which even the ecologist hadn’t seen before! We also found some Common Pipistrelle bats, the UK’s smallest bat species. The bats were dealt with professionally and moved safely to a new home, as advised by experts, ready for demolition work to start.
We thought we’d share more about the process. Advising how the presence of certain wildlife on site needs to be expertly and carefully considered.
When we begin a demolition job, we ensure the client has completed an ecology report. They must do this when they apply for planning permission. Once planning permission is granted and the project progresses, the client employs a licensed ecologist to work with us. This means we’re advised on specialist aspects which may affect the job, in terms of protected species of wildlife that may/may not be present in the location.
With bats, which are nocturnal, the ecologist conducts dusk and dawn bat surveys. This establishes the presence of any bats on site. There may be no bats roosting, there may be one or two; there may be a large colony. Depending on what’s found, prior to any demolition work starting we remove the roof of the building by hand, tile by tile – starting in any ‘hot spots’, as identified by the ecologist. Hot spots are where bats have been seen flying in/out. Once these areas are assessed for roosts, the remainder of the roof is checked – again by hand, tile by tile.
The ecologist applies to Natural England for a licence which allows for the removal of any bat species found. They provide a method statement for the site, which advises us of how to proceed with the job. In some instances, we put up bat boxes. These go on neighbouring trees to the building being demolished, providing a new home for the animals to roost.