Bat Guidance

Updated bat guidance

Several updates have occurred concerning bat survey requirements for all upcoming development projects. In September 2023, the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT) published updated Bat Surveys for Professional Ecologists guidelines. These guidelines, superseding the previous edition published in 2016, provide essential best practice measures for ecologists with proposed activities that may impact bats. Some key updates outlined in the guidance include:

  • The increased survey effort requirement for sites suitable for roosting, foraging and commuting bats.
  • The use of Night Vision Aids (NVAs) will now be a requirement during emergence/re-entry surveys.
  • New guides for assessing roosting habitats in trees and structures.
  • Emphasis on autumn and winter surveys to identify swarming sites and hibernacula.

Additionally, new lighting guidance in relation to bats was published in August 2023 by the Institute of Lighting Professionals (ILP) – Bats and Artificial Lighting at Night. The 2023 recommendations supersede the 2018 edition. This document highlights the importance of integrating avoidance measures at the early design stage by retaining ecologically important ‘dark corridors’ within developments wherever feasible and applying appropriate lighting mitigation strategies.

Future bat survey scope, assessment and mitigations recommended by MKO will be following the most current best practice guidelines. In addition to the above guidance updates, the arrival of a new guidance document for bat surveys at wind farms, in an Irish-specific context, is anticipated in the coming months. New guidance is also expected from BCT on large-scale building maintenance/renovation projects. Further updates on this will be circulated once they are issued.


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