Brief Overview of the Planning System & Bats The Planning Authority has a statutory duty to have regard to the Habitats Directive – the European legislation covering bats and other protected species. Paragraph 98 of ODPM Circular 06/2005 The presence of a protected species is a material consideration when a planning authority is considering a development proposal that, if carried out, would be likely to result in harm to the species or its habitat. Paragraph 99 of ODPM Circular 06/2005 states: ‘It is essential that the presence or otherwise of protected species, and the extent that they may be affected by the proposed development, is established before the planning permission is granted, otherwise all relevant material considerations may not have been addressed in making the decision.’
Criteria used in Tyne & Wear – based on guidelines published by ALGE: Permanent agricultural buildings; Buildings with wooden cladding or hanging tiles within 200m of woodland or water; Pre-1960 buildings within 200m of woodland or water; Pre-1919 buildings within 400m of woodland or water; Tunnels, mines, kilns, ice houses, adits, military fortifications, air raid shelters, cellars and similar underground ducts and structures; Bridges, aqueducts and viaducts. Lighting of Churches and listed buildings or flood lighting within 50m of woodland, water or hedgerows / lines of trees with an obvious connection to woodland or water; Works affecting woodland, or hedgerows / lines of trees with an obvious connection to woodland or water; Works that involve the felling or lopping of veteran trees, trees with obvious cracks, holes and cavities or trees with a diameter greater than 1m at chest height; How do we decide when a bat survey is required?
Buildings with wooden cladding or hanging tiles within 200m of woodland or water; Pre-1960 buildings within 200m of woodland or water; Pre-1919 buildings within 400m of woodland or water; Questions: What counts as woodland & water? Is age criteria of buildings really relevant? Is the criteria equally applicable to rural and urban areas? Do the distances from roosts to foraging areas reflect real life? Can one set of criteria realistically work for all bat species? In urban areas where the availability of roost sites is high, would bats roost closer to foraging habitat? Does the criteria reflect what bats actually do?
Bat Data Analysis Project Aim Analyse all existing information on bat roosts in the County Durham area to inform a review of the criteria to ensure it is as robust as possible. The overall objective is to conserve bat roosts by ensuring the correct criteria is used when determining whether bat surveys are required for all aspects of Local Authority work (planning, building maintenance, demolitions etc). Method All roost records held by Durham Bat Group were inputted into a database. The roosts were then mapped using GIS and analysed in conjunction with habitat maps, historic maps etc to test the criteria. Results….
2% = New: 2000 onwards 37% = Modern: 1970 – 2000 18% = Post-war: 1940 – 1960 6% = Interwar: 1910 – 1930 24% = Victorian: 1820 – 1900 13% = Early : pre - 1820 Approximately 680 roost records were inputted.
Note: Most roost records come from Natural England calls, so the roost types are ‘self selecting’.
Durham County Total number of roosts digitised – 478 Roosts within 200m of Rivers and Streams - 247 (52%) Roosts within 200m of Woodland - 247 (52%) Roosts in combined 200m buffer - 227 (47%) Roosts within 400m of Rivers and Streams - 369 (77%) Roosts within 400m of Woodland - 359 (75%) Roosts in combined 400m buffer - 345 (72%)
Durham County Urban and Rural Roosts within 100m of Rivers and Streams - 138 (29%) Roosts within 100m of Woodland - 176 (37%) Roosts in combined 100m buffer - 165 (35%) Roosts in Urban areas - 336 Roosts in Rural areas - 142 Urban roosts within 100m of Rivers and Streams - 77 (23%) Urban roosts within 100m of Woodland - 100 (30%) Rural roosts within 100m of Rivers and Streams - 61 (43%) Rural roosts within 100m of Woodland - 76 (54%)
Problems with data & analysis Information on roost records varies enormously in detail. Habitat layers (woodland / water etc) are not very accurately mapped and are ‘broad brush’ Our analysis skills are limited. What is the best approach? - Testing the existing criteria, or simply analysing known roost records and developing completely new criteria based on the results? Is negative data (where bats choose not to roost) necessary to give a full picture? Etc etc… Where do we go from here?
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