Posts tagged survey
Tree Climb and Inspect surveys for bats – why are we such fans?

LSC have three CS38 qualified ecologists who also hold Natural England bat licences which permit them to climb trees and inspect potential roost features (PRFs) for bats. We have been undertaking these surveys for over five years and have recorded inspections of thousands of trees in this timeframe. The traditional approach for surveying trees for bats is to conduct dusk and dawn emergence/re-entry surveys from the ground but ,whilst this still has its place, we think that the climb and inspect option has many advantages. Here are just a few:

Speed

Trees come in all shapes and sizes and inspecting a mature oak with many features can take half a day or more. On the other hand, we have climbed and comprehensively inspected 25 semi-mature trees in a single day before, but 8-10 trees a day is a good average to work on. Surveys of 16x trees would take a team of 2 surveyors a week of dusk/dawn surveys to assess, so it’s easy to see that deploying a pair of climbers to inspect these in two days would be much more efficient.

Understanding

An inspection of a PRF at height allows the surveyor to fully understand a feature. Does it extend upwards, is it clean or dirty, does it even provide a roosting opportunity at all? From the ground, a good surveyor has to be precautionary and assume that an apparent feature might be a PRF – however from an aerial inspection, we frequently confirm that 50% or more of apparent PRF’s are in fact unsuitable for bats and can be ruled out. Conversely when the feature really is good with high potential for bats, we can identify this and grade the PRF accordingly.

Efficiency

When we get to a feature, we would search not only for live bats in residence, but for evidence which suggests they have been there recently. This includes a search for bat droppings, or for other tell-tale signs of recent occupation such as smoothing of the cavity. An aerial inspection can identify conclusive evidence which spans several nights, compared with the individual snapshot of the emergence survey which can only tell you if a bat was in residence on that occasion.

Knowledge

The climber who has inspected hundreds of PRF’s at height has a much better idea of how a feature viewed from the ground might look when they’re in up the tree. Climbing is a great opportunity to check and correct your assumptions and bring this knowledge to the next assessment you undertake. Our climbers have developed this experience over a wide range of projects and can use the knowledge to provide you with an expert ground-level assessment as well as a confident and efficient aerial inspection service.

 

We work extensively throughout the Midlands and the rest of the UK. In August of this year, our climbers have completed inspections in Warwickshire, Essex, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. For more information on our aerial inspection services, follow this link!

Oak woodland tree climb.jpg
Bat surveys and Mitigation Strategy for a local Church

LSC were approached by Allan Joyce Architects to assess a local church for roosting bats. The lead had been stolen from the church over the summer and had been patched to keep out the rain, but a quick renovation using a lead-replacement material was needed to prevent further damage from occurring.

LSC undertook an internal and external inspection of the church during the daytime and found evidence of bats, including live bats roosting in the church itself and droppings on the church floor. Two of our surveyors returned to the church at dusk and dawn to assess how bats were using both the internal and external features of the church. We identified three roosts situated around the church, but only one of these had the potential to be affected by the proposed roof replacement works. Careful inspection of the roost location, and dialogue with the architects, confirmed that works could proceed at an appropriate time of year without disturbing the roost or any bats present within it. LSC consulted with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) Ecologist to provide our client with confidence that the recommended approach would be agreed at Planning.

Having received Planning Permission, the roofing works proceeded in the autumn under the supervision of one of LSC’s licenced bat workers, to make sure that the church was protected from the winter weather. The pragmatic and site-specific assessment conducted by LSC meant that there was no need for an EPS licence to undertake these works, avoiding additional costs for the church and time delays to the renovation works.

Allan Joyce architects said “we were delighted with the prompt & helpful advice that enabled us to resolve which security measures to install that would not disturb the bats but will protect the church from future thefts”.

A church near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire where LSC undertook a building inspection and dusk/dawn emergence and re-entry surveys for roosting bats to support a planning application for essential roof repair works.

A church near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire where LSC undertook a building inspection and dusk/dawn emergence and re-entry surveys for roosting bats to support a planning application for essential roof repair works.