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Protected Species and Historic Buildings

Historic and older buildings can often provide homes to many kinds of wildlife and protected species; for instance bats and nesting birds such as barn owls. In particular, bats can be frequently found in older buildings and will not present any oblivious indications to the owners that they are present.

Under UK law (Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulars 2010 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981), all bat species are under protection. Thus, they are an important consideration that must be taken when considering planning applications.

Applicants should be aware that when making an application of Listed Building Consent or Planning Permission, an assessment conducted by an ecologist is often required alongside. This will reveal if the presence of bats is likely within the building(s) that are being considered for development in order to demonstrate how they would be affected. If bats were deemed to be present, this may results in further detailed surveys and mitigation strategies. Failure to be aware of this before the submission of an application may result in the applicants proposal(s) to be reviewed which would likely result in delays. The later this is considered, the most significant of the delay.

Owners of buildings that are carrying out development to their buildings which do not require permission, such as minor repairs to roof spaces, should also be aware of this issue.

If bats or other protected species are found to be present during the development of a site, all work must stop and a Natural England European Protect Species License may be required before work recommences. Information and applications for this can be found here.

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