Bats have a high level of legal protection and are classified as European Protected Species (EPS). Regulations which protect all EPS have been tightened in recent years and arboriculturists need to be extremely careful that they do not contravene these Regulations by inadvertently causing damage to bats or their roosts. In order to reduce the chance of committing an offence under wildlife legislation it is important that arboriculturists develop policies and procedures setting out how trees will be assessed for bats and how this will be recorded.
This new Guidance Note sets out a reasonable procedure for contractors to assess trees for bats while striking a balance between caution and pragmatism. It includes:
Different types of assessment required depending on the likelihood of roosts being present
What should be done if the tree is a roost
What should be done if bats are found in a tree after work has started
Action to be taken if trees posing an unacceptable risk to the public are also likely to be bat roosts.