Bats are a protected species and as such are a material consideration in planning applications. If your proposed development meets any of the criteria in the trigger list below then your application will not be validated until a bat survey has been submitted.

Bats are widespread throughout the Ribble Valley and are found within a wide variety of buildings due to the excellent habitat that the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding countryside provide. The following trigger list is based upon the Bat Conservation Trust guidelines.

For more information on protected species and ecology download our bats information.


We will require an appropriate bat survey to be submitted if your scheme includes works to the roof, eaves, stone faced walls, weather boarding, or vertically hung slate of any of the following:

  • Agricultural buildings (eg. farmhouses, barns and outbuildings);
  • Buildings and structures built before 1914 with slate/tile roofs, stone walls, hanging slates/tiles or weather boarding within 400m of woodland and/or water
  • Buildings and structures built after 1914 with slate/tile roofs, stone walls, hanging slates/tiles or weather boarding within 200m of woodland and/or water
  • Any building located within, or immediately adjacent to woodland and/or water.
  • Domestic dwellings where a two or single storey extension will result in having to break into or disturb the existing roof.

We will require a bat survey to accompany all schemes to convert barns, outbuildings, and similar traditionally built buildings.

Surveys are not usually required for buildings with single skin roofs and Yorkshire board/profile sheet/open sides unless the area is particularly suitable for bats.

Other built structures

We will require an appropriate bat survey if your scheme affects any of the following:

  • Tunnels, mines, kilns, ice-houses, adits, military fortifications, air raid shelters, cellars and similar underground ducts and structure
  • Unused brick and/or stone industrial chimneys (unlined)
  • Bridge structures, aqueducts and viaducts (especially over water/wet ground and/or woodland)

We will require an appropriate bat survey to accompany proposals for the floodlighting of any of the following:

  • Churches, listed buildings, green space (eg. sports pitches) within 50m of woodland, water, hedgerows, or lines of trees with connectivity to woodland or water.
  • Any building meeting the criteria laid out in 'Buildings' above.
Felling, removal, or lopping of:

We will require and appropriate bat survey to be submitted with applications which propose any work to the following:

  • Woodland
  • Hedgerows and/or lines of trees with connectivity to woodland or water bodies
  • Ancient and/or Veteran trees, and/or trees over 100 years old
  • Mature trees with obvious holes, cracks or cavities, or ivy covered (including large dead trees)
Water bodies  A bat survey is required when work affects rivers, streams, canals, lakes, reedbeds or other aquatic habitat.
Quarries, gravel pits, cliffs and caves  Appropriate bat surveys will be required for work affecting any of these areas.
Wind turbines Proposals for developments including one or more wind turbines (depending on size and location) (NE TIN 051)
Bats present Any proposal that would affect any building, structure, feature or location where bats are known to be present must be accompanied by an appropriate bat survey.


Why are bat surveys needed?

Bats are a protected species afforded protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) (as amended); the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, 2000; the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC, 2006); and by the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations (2010). As such the Local Planning Authority has a duty to ensure that bats are given due consideration during the planning process. A planning application cannot be granted permission unless due consideration has been afforded to protected species.

Can I do a bat survey myself?

No. We will only accept bat surveys that meet the established standards of the Bat Conservation Trust Bat Surveys - Good Practice Guidelines, and which have been undertaken by a qualified and experienced surveyor. When choosing a consultant you should make sure that they are familiar with the Good Practice Guidelines, ask them about the type of survey they propose to undertake, and the methods they will use. If there are inadequacies with the survey, or not enough surveys have been done then this can hold up your application for many months. A good consultant will be able to show you examples of the work they have done elsewhere. 

Download a list of protected species survey consultants.

When can a survey be done?

The timing of bat surveys is very important. Whilst surveys can be undertaken in the winter months to assess the potential of a building being used by bats, if that survey concludes that a building is likely to be used by bats we will not be able to validate your application until you provide further summer surveys. Conversely, in rare cases a summer survey may identify potential hibernacula (bat hibernation roosts), in which case a winter survey will be required. We will only validate an application with an out-of-season survey if that survey concludes that the site is of low potential and that no further surveys are required and we are satisfied that this information is full and accurate.

Winter surveys along will only be acceptable if they find no, or very low potential for bats to be present. 

What if an initial building survey concludes further surveys are required? 

If a winter, or basic building survey concludes that there is potential for bats to be present we will need further information before we can validate your application. A minimum of three emergence and/or dawn re-entry surveys per building during the active period (May until the end of September) will be required. At least two of the surveys should take place between mid-May and August. If the building has the potential for use by bats throughout the year then this must be reflected in the timing of the surveys. 

What should be in a survey? 

We expect all surveys to be produced in accordance with the Bat Conservation Trust guidelines. A full bat survey will include: a survey and site assessment; an impact assessment; details of any further surveys that may be required; details of any compensation, mitigation and enhancement measures required; details of post-development safeguarding; a timetable of works; and whether or not a European Protected Species licence will be required. Please note that if bats are present in the area we will expect habitat enhancement measures to be included even if bats are unlikely to be affected by the development.

I had a bat survey done previously can it be re-used?

Bat surveys need to be as up-to-date as possible, therefore it is unlikely that we will accept bat surveys over one year old unless there was no or very low potential for bats. Surveys older than two years will never be acceptable. 

Our survey has found bats - now what?

If a bat survey finds bats or bat roosts at a site and concludes that any activities/aspects of the proposed development are likely to lead to:

  • Deliberate disturbance of bats
  • Deliberate killing, injury or capture of bats
  • Damage or destruction of a breeding site or resting place (roost)

then carrying out the proposed development may lead to a criminal offence being committed.

You may be able to prove that a criminal offence can be avoided by identifying measures to avoid an offence under the provisions of the Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations 2010. Such proposed measures (mitigation measures) must show a high degree of certainty for success and you will be required to implement such measures as conditions or planning obligations as part of any planning permission that may be granted. 

If you are not able to propose satisfactory mitigation to avoid an offence then you must prove that:

  • There is no satisfactory alternative to the development proposed (ie. not developing is not an option and it is the only possible development location)
  • The proposals will not be detrimental to the maintenance of the population of the species concerned at a favourable conservation status in their natural range
  • The development is necessary for imperative reasons of overriding public interest (including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment)

If these three tests cannot be passed, we have no choice other than to refuse the application. Therefore if your survey finds bats we strongly recommend that you submit a supporting statement providing details of any proposed mitigation measures or explaining how the development satisfies these three tests