Wildwood Ecology applied their expert knowledge of bats and experience and understanding of species licensing to enable roofing works at a building with a known large maternity bat roost.
We were contacted by the client to assist with reroofing work required at the Breast Test Wales building. The client was aware that a bat roost was present within a section of the roof.
During the Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) and subsequent bat activity surveys a large maternity roost of soprano pipistrelle bats was identified. Although the area of the roost and access point were not to be directly affected by roofing works, there was a possibility of disturbance if works were carried out when the maternity roost was active. There was also the possibility that bats may use the building year-round due to the high number of bats present in the maternity roost.
A Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) was undertaken during which approximately 30 live bats, including young, were observed in the roof space.
During subsequent bat activity surveys, a maximum count of 507 bats were recorded exiting the building, confirming a large soprano pipistrelle maternity roost.
A European Protected Species Licence (EPSL) was required from Natural Resources Wales in order to legally carry out roofing works, to prevent disturbance to the roost and due to the possibility that bats may also use other parts of the building outside maternity season.
To minimise impacts on the bat roost, works were scheduled to be completed outside maternity season, and the current bat access point for the maternity roost was maintained. Ecological Clerk of Works was required to supervise work in sensitive areas, deliver a toolbox talk to contractors and watching brief to allow the work to be undertaken under the licence.
Natural Resources Wales was satisfied with the licence application and the proposed mitigation/ compensation, and a licence was granted without any queries from the Species Team.
A delay in the works scheduled required an amendment to the licence timetable, which was submitted and accepted by Natural Resources Wales without any interruption to works.
Ecological Clerk of Works was provided by Wildwood Ecology from February to April 2022, during which a further, currently unused, roost at the rear of the building was identified. As the bat licence was already in place for the building, and no bats were present at the time of the works, it was possible for works to continue without any delays.
Jenny O’Neill, Consultant Ecologist