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Advocacy and Consultations

BCT responds to consultations and provides information on issues that have implications for bat conservation.

A BCT Bat Walk in the Palace of Westminster with Biodiversity Minister Joan Ruddock (Steve Moon)We monitor many of the issues on the political agenda via our membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link and we often contribute to joint responses on issues to government bodies such as Natural England and JNCC via this forum.

We engage in advocacy with high level policy makers with regards to issues considered to have a particular threat to the conservation of bats.

Working in partnership

We work in partnership with many government, other non-governmental organisations and bat specialists commenting on issues, producing important papers and best practice guidance.  Many consultations come directly to BCT for response, whilst others come via Wildlife and Countryside Link, other BCT contacts and members. A wide range of issues are covered including: changes in legislation & licencing, good practice guidance, planning issues and work associated with the UK and countries Biodiversity Action Planning System.

Current Consultations and Advocacy

Consultation on Wildlife Crime Investigative Powers for Inspectors in the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – BCT support the principle but have concerns over the proposed methods of implementation: The proposal that formed the basis of the consultation was to give an extension of powers for Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) inspectors. Possible new powers proposed were:

Without a warrant:

  • enter land other than dwellings or lockfast premises;
  • search for, search or examine things if they suspect that evidence will be
  • found in or on that thing; and
  • seize evidence.

With a warrant:

  • enter premises not covered by the provisions described above.

The powers above would be exercisable where there was reason to suspect that a Part 1 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 offence (includes those relating to wild birds, other protected animals, poaching, snaring and non-native species) was being committed or that there was evidence of such an offence having been committed.

In August 2014 BCT responded to this consultation. Although BCT strongly support any initiative that seeks to bring those who commit wildlife crime to justice and have no objections in principle to the SSPCA inspectors being given investigative powers, BCT were concerned at the proposed implementation and had the questions that in our view would need to be addressed before the proposed additional powers could operate in a way that would bring the desired benefit for our wildlife. The reasons for these concerns are outline in our response here.


The Review of the Implentation of the Habitats Directive in England: In December 2011, the Government has announced that it will undertake a review of the implementation of the EU Habitats Directive in England through the Habitat Regulations; key legislation which protects bats and their habitats. The Habitat Regs provide an essential mechanism for safeguarding vulnerable species and habitats whilst ensuring social and economic needs are met. They provide the framework needed to drive conservation through regulatory systems, scientific monitoring and evidence gathering. In the case of bats, the adoption and enforcement of structured legislation has been fundamental to fighting persecution. BCT believes that the focus of the review should be to strengthen best practice and refine implementation with an overall aim of meeting the Biodiversity 2020 targets.

BCT have now submitted recommendations and case studies illustrating ways in which the current system can be improved. Our submission reinforces the need for a combination of good standards of professional practice supported by well informed decision making to achieve this aim. 

HS2 - High Speed Rail: BCT highlighted concerns in relation to the proposed HS2 development. These concerns focused around the need for an appropriate level of survey to be undertaken to assess the potential impact of large scale developments on protected species.

BCT also drew attention to the presence of some of the UK’s rarest bat species in the area of the proposed route that must be given particular consideration. As part of BCT’s Bechstein’s Bat Project, the presence of breeding female Bechstein’s bats was identified within a number of woodlands in Buckinghamshire. These are the most north-easterly records for this species giving them both local and national importance.

Local bat experts within the Buckinghamshire area are now undertaking additional work to further understand the use of the area by this species, and have already highlighted that Bechstein’s bats are moving between woodlands that are on opposite sides of the proposed HS2 route. This indicates that without appropriate survey and mitigation, the projected route to be developed would divide this colony, thereby leading to a significant impact on its functionality and ability to maintain favourable conservation status.

BCT requested that appropriate consideration be given to this species and the unknown potential impacts of HS2 on this nationally important population, as outlined in BCT’s position statement.

Following the release of the draft Environmental Statement for HS2, BCT have reviewed the content and made further recommendations which we would like to see considered when the formal Environmental Statement is drafted. These recommendations are outlined in BCTs second position statement on HS2.

Good Practice Guidance

People working with bats or who might come into contact with bats or their roosts during their daily lives require good practice guidance to help them conduct their business in the interests of bat conservation. Some examples of good practice guidance is provided below and also via the Professional Guidance page.

Other examples of BCT's partnership work include:

Our work is funded by Natural England and The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

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Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228