REC were commissioned to undertake a bat inspection survey of the Horse and Jockey Public House and associated outhouse in Helsby, Cheshire. It was proposed that the Public House building would be converted into four residential dwellings and the outhouse demolished to accommodate car parking facilities.
All UK bat species are protected under national and European wildlife legislation and all have been recorded as having used buildings and built structures as roosts at some time during the year. As such, bat inspection surveys are usually undertaken to comply with the planning process.
Internal and External Inspection
The survey was undertaken by one of REC’s licensed ecologists and consisted of a thorough external and internal inspection of both buildings on site and the surrounding habitats, to look for field evidence of bat occupation. Typical signs of bat roosting include individual bats, droppings, feeding remains, scratch marks, urine staining, grease marks and clean cobweb-free gaps around potential entrance points and crevice roost sites.
Based on the results of the survey, the structures were assessed to determine their potential to support bat roosts according to the criteria set out in relevant guidance.
Identifying Presence of Bats
Signs of use by bats were identified within both buildings. Over 100 butterfly and moth wings were found throughout the loft space of the Public House, which indicated that this building was used by bats as a feeding perch. Furthermore, multiple butterfly wings as well as two piles of bat droppings were identified within loft space of the outhouse. Samples of the droppings were sent to the University of Warwick for DNA analysis, which indicated that they were from brown long eared bats. As such, the outhouse was confirmed as a roosting location for this species.
A report was issued by REC which contained bespoke, tailored advice on how to move forward with the planning application to suit the client’s requirements and, at the same time, comply with the relevant wildlife legislation. Appropriate mitigation measures to enhance the bat potential of the site were also recommended.
For more information on REC’s Bat surveys – please contact us online or call 0845 676 9303