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Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines 2nd Edition

Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines

BatsurveyguidecoverFollowing feedback from experts in the field and authored by professionals, the Bat Conservation Trust has updated and revised the Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines. In line with the latest evidence and best practice the second edition features new chapters and content, with revised advice and guidance.  This is the essential reference and guide for anyone involved in professional bat work. 

BCT has made the full document available for free in a PDF that cannot be printed out to reduce waste. Order your hard copy from NHBS (£24.99)

The printing of the publication was sponsored by: Applied Ecology Ltd, Echoes Ecology Ltd, Greenwillows Associates Ltd, Just Mammals Consultancy LLP & The Ecology Consultancy 

Professional judgement and surveyor experience

Professional judgement remains an essential part of bat work. However, as with other sectors there remains a need for professional judgement to be supported by evidence, particularly in instances where inappropriate judgement could lead to legal challenge. 

One of the intentions of the 2nd Edition is to maintain professional survey standards. Statements relating to experience within the Survey Guidelines are therefore included to make it clear that survey work requires on-going vigilance from both experienced and inexperienced surveyors. The abilities and experience of bat ecologists who follow good practice are not disputed. Unfortunately, cases of poor practice do occur, both as a result of inexperience, and the misinterpretation of principles by more experienced surveyors and planners.

The exact balance between judgement, guidance and evidence will vary. Our Professional Training Standards have been released alongside the Survey Guidelines in order to outline in more depth the level of knowledge and skills required for different tasks.

BCT will continue to develop these standards and work alongside other SNCOs and Institutes to develop these principles and ensure that the upcoming changes to the licensing system provide more clarity on this point.

We will be reviewing the document periodically to assess the need for additional addendums. Please send any comments to

Overview of main changes

New chapters include:

  • Pre planning considerations
  • Equipment and techniques
  • Assessing survey reports
  • Long term surveys for larger infrastructure projects
  • Surveying for wind farms
  • Interpreting results  

With a renewed focus on catering for professional bat work; consultants; planners and others associated with development, the 2nd edition covers in depth:

  • The principles of good survey design
  • How to review and asses the quality of survey reports
  • The importance of data analysis and the interpretation of results

Some of the chapters from the previous edition relating to individual survey types (underground, catching, buildings etc.) have been encompassed into two chapters: Activity Surveys and Roost Surveys.

Find out more

Bat Surveys: Good Practice Guidelines, 2nd edition (2 MB) - 29/03/12
The essential reference and guide for anyone involved in professional bat work. Authored by professionals the Guidelines draws on the latest evidence and best practice. This 2nd edition features new chapters and content, with revised advice and guidance

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