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Bat Group Bulletin No. 147

Bat Group Bulletin No. 147: 25th August 2017

  1. Scottish Bat Workers Conference & BCT AGM 2017
  2. New GP Form for Pre-Exposure Rabies Vaccinations in England & Wales
  3. BCT Halloween Pack 2017
  4. Natural England Bat Expert Panel Recruitment
  5. NBMP Bat Detector Workshop Fife
  6. Bats and Cave Fires – Information Sought
  7. “Take Action for the Environment” campaign
  8. 20/20 Vision Scotland
  9. Speakers from the Woodland Trust
  10. PhD Opportunity Studying Christmas Island Flying Fox
  11. Jersey Bat Group Notebooks
  12. Arizona BatWatch Needs You!
  13. CIRIA Survey on Natural England EPS Licensing
  14. Bat Research Papers & Reports
  15. Key Dates for Your Diary

1. Scottish Bat Conference & BCT AGM 2017

Booking is now open for the Scottish Bat Conference! Click here to view the provisional programme, workshop descriptions and book your place. Remember workshop spaces are limited so book now to avoid disappointment! The event will be held on Saturday 18th November at Battleby, near Perth. Cost £35-40. For further information or to book a place please see the BCT website.

This year’s BCT Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be taking place directly after the Scottish Bat Conference. Please indicate on the booking form if you would like to attend. The AGM will take place after the conference closes and will last an hour. We warmly invite members to stay for the AGM and then to join the BCT staff and trustees for a drink and buffet supper nearby.

If you aren’t attending the Scottish Bat Conference but would still like to come along to the AGM then please get in touch by email.

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2. New GP Form for Pre-Exposure Rabies Vaccinations in England & Wales

In people with increased risk of exposure to rabies, pre-exposure prophylaxis can be very effective and reduce the need for rabies immunoglobulin in the case of an exposure such as a bat bite. In England and Wales, the Rabies and Immunoglobulin Service (RIgS) at Public Health England (PHE) is responsible for issuing pre-exposure rabies vaccine. Separate arrangements are in place in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

PHE has recently released a new risk assessment form for anyone requesting pre-exposure vaccine and these need to be completed by your doctor. This new form has some additional questions that should be completed for bat workers to ensure the vaccine is issued appropriately. Your doctor may ask you for this information before they can send the form back to PHE.

These questions include who you volunteer with, whether you have a licence, or are starting training as a bat worker or bat carer, and how often you handle bats. And don’t forget that having pre-exposure vaccine does not take away the need for prompt post-exposure treatment if a bite or other type of exposure occurs. So ensure you speak to your GP promptly if you are bitten by a bat, even if you’ve had rabies vaccine before.

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3. BCT Halloween Pack 2017

We have now updated our Halloween Community Fundraising Pack for 2017 and it is available from the BCT website. Find out more about the new pack on our website.

Some bat groups use the Halloween fundraising pack to do their own fundraising rather than raise funds for BCT. Please do let us know if you use the packs and how you got on, even if it wasn’t for BCT we would still love to know what works, and how much you raised for bat conservation.

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4. Natural England Bat Expert Panel Recruitment

Natural England are recruiting up to nine experts for a new Bat Expert Panel, with the purpose of providing expert opinion on Natural England’s approach to bat conservation and regulation; shape and grow support for an ambitious programme of reforms over the coming years; secure better conservation outcomes for bats; and aim to secure improved outcomes for developers, householders, ecologists and other stakeholders.

The closing date for applications is 29 September 2017 and further information can be found on the GOV.UK website.

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5. NBMP Bat Detector Workshop Fife

Places are still available on the introductory bat detector workshop in Fife on 1st September. This workshop is ideal for beginners as well as anyone who would like to brush up on their heterodyne bat detector skills. Full details and a booking form are online.

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6. Bats and Cave Fires – Information Sought

After a serious fire in a site used as a hibernacula in the Netherlands we are trying to find information of any similar cases in the UK, or elsewhere, and any reports or publications on the ongoing impacts on bats.

Details of the fire can be read on the Flanders Today website. Erik Korsten, a Dutch Bat Worker, who is seeking to find out more about the impact on bats, provided further information for us. Unfortunately the site of the fire was difficult to reach and was in a dangerous location (danger of ceiling collapse), so the local fire department had great difficulties trying to extinguishing the fire. It lasted almost two weeks and a lot of smoke entered the underground system. Fortunately the location is not used by large numbers of bats in summer, but it is an important hibernacula. It is also a well know cave system for swarming bats in late summer and autumn. As a result of the fire there are concerns about the long-term effect of the smell of smoke and the heavy soot deposition on the cave ceilings and walls, on both the bats directly and the hibernation habitat. There is also concern about the effect of possible carbon monoxide pockets on bats that are exploring the cave system (e.g. during swarming).

If you know of any literature or documentation about the effect of fires or heavy smoke accumulation in hibernation habitat, or the effects of underground carbon monoxide pockets on bats, please get in touch (email Lisa Worledge and she will make sure any information is passed on to Erik Korsten).

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7.  “Take Action for the Environment” Campaign
Over the last 44 years, the European Union (EU) has played a critical role in shaping the legislation that protects bats and other wildlife in the UK. The Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill (also known as the Great Repeal Bill) is the first important step in shaping what will come after we are no longer part of the EU. Wildlife and Countryside Link (a unique coalition of 46 voluntary organisations, including BCT, concerned with the conservation and protection of wildlife and the countryside) have a new campaign to “Take Action for the Environment”. More details can be found on the BCT website.

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8. 20/20 Vision Scotland

Scottish Review, Scotland’s weekly current affairs magazine, is working on an exciting new feature called 20/20 Vision. This aims to highlight 20 notable young people in their 20s who are involved in remarkable work. They hope to identify and compile profiles for individuals from all professional and personal backgrounds, from young artists and musicians to entrepreneurs and environmentalists, who are, for example, inspiring other young people, embarking on humanitarian work, inventing new technologies, or achieving other remarkable feats in their field; living proof that young people can make a difference. 

If you are aware of anyone between the ages of 20 and 29 who fits that description and is currently living and working in Scotland, Scottish review would love to hear about them. Please email Rachael at Scottish Review with any queries or nominations.

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9. Speakers from the Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust have contacted BCT to let us know that they have a  network of 70+ speakers across the UK who speak to community groups to inform them about the importance and value of woods and trees and the work of the Woodland Trust. They are currently growing their speaker network and are looking for more opportunities for their speakers to talk to other groups about trees and woods and their cause.

The talks are delivered using a generic PowerPoint presentation and last about 45 minutes with time for a Q and A session.  They are free of charge but of course the Woodland Trust are always delighted to receive a donation towards their work.

So if you are planning a winter talks programme and think such a talk would appeal to your members then please do get in touch with Wendy Quilter at the Woodland Trust via an email.

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10. PhD Opportunity Studying Christmas Island Flying Fox

There is a PhD opportunity with the University of Queensland on conservation of the Critically Endangered Christmas Island flying fox. Please note the deadline is 31st of August. More information and details of how to apply are online.

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11. Jersey Bat Group Notebooks

The Jersey Bat Group have had some notepads produced with a lovely image of a brown long-eared bat on the front cover by Hugh Clark. On the inside cover it describes the Jersey Bat Group, and on the back inside cover it has the species list for the island. The notebook is priced at £4.50 plus postage for one notebook at £1.50. Please contact Robert Hurley at the Jersey Bat Group by email if you would like to place an order.

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12. Arizona BatWatch Needs You!

Are you interested in bats in other parts of the world but don’t have the money to travel? Well now you can help with a project in Arizona for the endangered lesser long-nosed bats from the comfort of your home! Almost five thousand brand new videos have been uploaded to Arizona BatWatch and they really need people’s help to search through them!

The videos are each just 10 seconds long, so it's now easy to take part. A great activity to celebrate International Bat Night perhaps? (Especially if the weather isn’t up to getting out batting yourself!). For more information and to take part see the Arizona Bat Watch website

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13. CIRIA Survey on Natural England EPS Licensing

The Construction Industry Research and Information Association (CIRIA) would like to know the construction industry's thoughts and experiences on using the new EPS licensing approach.

Natural England has introduced 4 new policy positions around the implementation of the law and licensing regarding European Protected Species, these are:

  • Policy 1 - greater flexibility in exclusion and relocation activities, where there is investment in habitat provision.
  • Policy 2 - greater flexibility in the location of compensatory habitat.
  • Policy 3 - greater flexibility on exclusion measures where this will allow EPS to use temporary habitat.
  • Policy 4 - reduced survey effort in circumstances where the impacts of development can be confidently predicted.

CIRIA wants to support its members and the wider construction community on working with these policies. They would like people in the industry to answer a few questions and to share their experiences with CIRIA on how they have used the above policies. This information will inform future events and outputs with steer from CIRIA's Biodiversity Interest Group.

The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes and will remain open until mid-September. It can be found online

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14. Bat Research Papers & Reports

Please note we normally only include bat related articles, reports and blogs in this section where they are available to read online or to download without charge. Exceptionally we do include details of papers or other items where we think they will be of particular interest but where only abstracts or summary information is available, but we will include a note of that in the text about the article (there is one such papers in this month’s Bulletin).  For more information about how to access journal papers see the BCT website

  • Mitigation Case Studies Forum Proceedings Now Available – in January 2017, as a first step to addressing the lack of evidence in bat mitigation (by encouraging monitoring and the sharing of good practice), the Bat Conservation Trust’s Built Environment team ran a Mitigation Case Studies Forum. 
  • White-nose syndrome fungus in a 1918 bat specimen from France – researchers studying historic samples from bats have confirmed they have found Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in North America, in a sample from a bat specimen in France that dates back to 1918. 
  • UK Biodiversity Indicators – the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) have recently released the latest UK Biodiversity Indicators report. These include the bat indicator, which uses NBMP data. 
  • JNCC Strategy 2017-2020 – In addition to the UK Biodiversity Indicators, JNCC have recently published their trategy for the next few years. The document describes how they will work in partnership with others across the UK and internationally to deliver five high-level outcomes while being responsive to future challenges, such as EU exit. 
  • Evidence complacency hampers conservationthis comment article by Sutherland and Wordley, in Nature Ecology and Evolution, considers the problem of evidence complacency, illustrated through conservation policy and practice, and how it results in poor practice and inefficiencies. 
  • Green Brexit: 1 out of 3 for environmental principles – Wildlife & Countryside Link have published a blog by Richard Benwell Co-chair of Link's 25 Year Plan Working Group and Head of Government Affairs, WWT. According to the blog, “the Government’s EU (Withdrawal) Bill should assure the letter of the law, the spirit of the law and adherence to the law. However this Bill only delivers just one of these, putting the principles of environmental law at great risk in the UK.”

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15. Key Dates for Your Diary

Watch this space for dates and reminders of conferences and other events you may be interested in. Please don’t forget you can get some extra publicity for your events by adding the details to the BCT website.

BCT Events

  • 01-03 September – Swarming Conference. This event is fully booked but to go on the waiting please email Naomi Webster
  • 18 November – Scottish Bat Conference **SAVE THE DATE** More details are available on the web page for the event
  • 17 March 2018 – East of England Bat Conference. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but if you have any suggestions for a location or content for the day please email Naomi Webster, BCT’s Training & Conferences Manager
  • 21 April 2018 – Midlands Bat Conference. **SAVE THE DATE** More details of this event are to follow but if you have any suggestions for a location or content for the day please email Naomi (details as above).

Other Event

  • 26-27 August – International Bat Night. For more information see the BCT website (please do share details of your events to mark this annual celebration of bats!
  • 07 September – Taxonomy & Systematics Committee Symposium ‘WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR BIOLOGICAL SURVEYS? Are Specialists for Key Taxa at Risk of Becoming Extinct?’, Linnean Society of London. For more information and registration details see the Linnean Society website.
  • 04-06 October – Southern Africa Bat Conference, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Kirstenbosch, Cape Town. Conference bookings will be opening shortly, but more information about the event, including a draft programme, can be found on the Bats without Borders website.
  • 17-19 October – World Parks Congress, Floral Pavilion Theatre and Conference Centre, New Brighton, Wirral. More details including ticket prices and booking links are available online.
  • 16-17 November – NBN Conference 2017, National Museum Cardiff. See NBN website for more information.

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